Second Saginaw poetry slam a slamming success


Round two of slamming poets brought out more participants vying for a spot to go to the national competition in North Carolina.

Last month, eight poets performed their best pieces for a spot on Saginaw’s first slam competition team. Last Thursday at Woody O’Brien’s, the competition grew to 12 poets performing.

Fellow poets and professors at SVSU and Delta College, JodiAnn Stevenson and Suzanne Aiken, participated in a poetry reading before the judged competition.

Vanguard photo | Tyler Bradley

Theresa Marshall, a Saginaw retiree, performed her piece entitled, “What’s Real,” receiving scores of 10
from all the judges. Marshall one first place overall, too.

Stevenson read a piece, “On the Event Horizon,”which she created in reaction to news coverage about American soldiers raping an Iraqi child in 2006.

Chuck Davenport, another SVSU instructor, in addition to Stevenson and Aiken helped organize the competition after years of discussion for creating it.

“Slams bring something to the community,” Stevenson said.

She plans on continuing the slam competition.

Creation of a weeklong slam workshop during the summer for all ages also is in the making. Stevenson is seeking faculty and writers to support this program.

Stevenson played the role of slam master for the evening, MCing the event, hyping up the crowd and explaining the rules of the competition.

Poets had three minutes to read a poem which would then receive zero to 30 points based on the judges who were random members of the audience.

“The points are not the point, it’s the poetry,” Stevenson said.

Theresa Marshall, a Saginaw retiree, performed her piece, “What’s Real,” which received solid 10s from all the judges.

“I’ve never done poetry in this age group before,” Marshall said.

She began writing her piece on the back of a flier in 2002 immediately after seeing slam poets in Cleveland, Ohio.

“When I hear good poetry, it makes me want to write,” she said.

Marshall placed first in round one, and continued her success to take home first prize and the winner’s basket filled with goodies donated by audience members.

Vanguard photo | Tyler Bradley

Jason Kahler, SVSU professor, placed third in the slam overall with his piece, “I wish I was Canadian.”
Kahler’s poem was inspired by his research on Google of Canadian culture.

The top five of the first round moved onto round two, in which the top three would move onto the final round.

Theresa Marshall, Elaina Main, Jason Kahler, Brett Tafel and Vanguard sports editor Justin Brouckaert qualified for round two.

Tafel, a student at ITT in Swartz Creek,  performed “One Rose.”

His piece was inspired after many girls he liked fell for the wrong people.

“Those guys didn’t deserve their love, and I guess I’ve noticed that in a lot of people,” Tafel said.

Brouckaert took second for the second successive month after arriving to the slam in the nick of time to perform his piece, “Learning Nuance.”

Kahler, a professor at SVSU, delivered his piece “I Wish I Was Canadian,” a comedic poem involving the research of Canadian culture through the use of Google.

Kahler placed third in the slam overall.

The slam series must hold six poetry slams by mid-May to have four individuals qualify for nationals.

One slam will take place at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 12, at Dawn of a New Day café in Saginaw.

Another will be 7 p.m. Thursday, April 19, at Woody O’Brien’s in Saginaw Township.