How long did you prepare for your piece, and what was the preparation like?
We had about 2 weeks to draft and complete our poems in our VMC classes. The two weeks were well over enough time for me to write at least three or four drafts of my poem. Before we began writing our final poems we had a couple weeks leading up to the drafting process to get familiar with a couple slam poetry techniques that we could possibly use in our poems. After the poems were drafted we had a few days to perform and review our poems with our peers.
I had to practice for class, so I had it memorized. But in terms of hand gestures and motions, it kind of has to come naturally. I can't really choreograph movements, so I just did whatever I felt was necessary to bring out the message of the poem.
What topic was your piece about? Why did you choose that topic?
My piece was about me pursuing a career in acting and how difficult it is for an Indian-American female to make it big in Hollywood cinema. This is a huge part of my life right now and something I'm really passionate about.
My piece was about assimilating into a new country/culture and the reactions of people from the two cultures I am a part of — American and Indian. It also was about cultural identity in a globalised world.
My topic was bullying and how it personally affected me. I chose this topic because I've never openly talked about my past. I normally just bury the past because now I have this happy-go-lucky attitude and so no one really expects anything like that from me.
My piece was about that when you're down you can come back with hard effort. I chose this topic because it just fit my magic.
My piece was about brokenness. How we're all broken, but sometimes we think that we're the only people going through a certain thing, when in reality most of the people in our lives are fighting battles we know nothing about. It’s about how we try to hide our broken pieces because we feel like we need to, but we really don't, and also about how the world is broken, and that love is the only thing that can fix it. A line in my poem is "you can't save people, you can only love them," and I think it's very true. We just need more love in this world for people. I chose this topic, because it's something I want people to know — that we're all broken and we’re not alone. It's something I experienced first hand in my life, after all my poem was about my best friend and my ex-girlfriend. She was in so much pain, but I was the first person who loved and cared enough to ask. And that's scary. The fact that some people spend everyday in pain and no one notices or cares. People need to realize loving on people can completely and utterly change their life.
What makes poetry slam a unique experience compared to other mediums of speaking/writing?
Slam poetry is more of a performance art form than essays or written prose, so it's a lot easier to show emotion, which allows you to make the poem funny, sad, sarcastic, etc. — stuff that might be lost in translation when it's written down. Also, you get to have a "conversation" with the audience because it's an audience based performance. They react to you and you react to them.
I think a poetry slam can make more of an impact than other forms of speech/writing because it's a performance unlike a regular speech and often times the poems are about topics the speaker is passionate about. It's like watching passion come to life. I personally love watching slam poetry for this reason. I love poetry in general, because it's the same alphabet we're all using, but poetry uses certain words to make you feel something. And slam poetry is even better sometimes because hearing a poem read powerfully out loud can leave a bigger impact on the audience.