A look into the upcoming LHS Poetry Slam


Laura Heckenlaible

The book, “Echoes In A Hallway,” is a compilation of poems written by the LHS poetry club members. It consists of 17 unique poems written by the students and club adviser Pastrano. It even has a get-to-know the poets page and a couple of blank pages located in the back for the writing of your own.

Poetry is all around; people read and take in poetic phrases without even realizing it. 

In the words of Benny Rojas, a senior and contestant in the LHS Poetry Slam, “Poetry isn’t just the rhyming and happiness but it can be many different things; any play on words can be poetry.” Though it is one of the world’s most intricate pieces of art written, people still take poetry for granted each and every day.

In school when given the assignment to construct a poetry piece, some want nothing more than to skip it. But not everyone sees poetry in this negative light. Though not many want to go up in front of their class or an audience to showcase their poetry, many people still adore the emotion or struggle that comes with it. 

Due to the increasing interest in poetry, the LHS Poetry Club, led by English teacher Xavier Pastrano, has put together a poetry slam where students can perform their own work in front of judges. The poetry slam is set for Friday, Jan. 21st.  It will be held in the auditorium during Ad Room on a club Friday. Everyone attending LHS is encouraged to come and witness the very art people see but look over each and every day.

The LHS Poetry Club has been holding weekly meetings for the past several years. When the club first started members were scarce. The club had its regulars and every week between six and seven people would attend. But like everything in life, “good things take time.” With an increase in advertisement around school and in classes, as the years went on attendance began to grow. Now, around 10 people attend and some days even upwards of 20 take part. Due to the loyal members, the overall increase in attendance and interest in poetry, Pastrano was able to confidently believe that LHS could host a poetry slam. 

The poetry slam has seven contestants. All seven will go into the first round; they will perform their poem in under three minutes. After their performance, the five judges will score their performance out of 10. The highest and lowest scores will be excluded, thus making the total points out of thirty. For the second round, the three contestants that scored the highest will read a second poem they created. They will then be scored the same way as the first round. In the end, those final three contestants will be awarded either first, second, or third place depending on their individual points for the final round.

Nothing like the poetry slam has been done before at LHS. At the start, many students were hesitant to join. Through some promotion over announcements and encouragement from teachers like Pastrono, multiple students entered, thus allowing for the poetry slam to take place. For Rojas, it will be their first time performing their poetry in front of an audience other than in class. 

“I was like, I have lots of poetry and I’m kinda proud of it, and writing it’s one of the things I’m confident in myself doing, so why not?” said Rojas.    

“I was like, I have lots of poetry and I’m kinda proud of it, and writing it’s one of the things I’m confident in myself doing, so why not?”

— Benny Rojas

Just like it is for them, for many others poetry is not just a trivial rhyme or a bunch of random words on a paper; it is an outlet for expression. It is where they feel most comfortable. That is what makes the poetry slam so amazing. At LHS there are outlets for those who like sports or music, but besides speech and debate, there hasn’t been a sole outlet for one to competitively showcase their writing in a while. 

Through this event, doors into the poetic world will open not just for those in the Poetry Club but also for the population of students at LHS. Pastrano is excited about the event and what it will bring.“I hope to generate more interest in poetry/spoken word, to give students an opportunity to showcase their amazing talents, and most importantly, to provide students with a platform so they can have their voices heard,” said Pastrano.

 One of the best aspects of poetry is the power it holds: the power to put issues and topics dear to people’s hearts into an art form that evokes bold emotions in those listening. The Poetry Slam is just the start for the LHS Poetry Club.