Published: January 30, 2015
The Spoken Word Poetry club has been making a slam at Mason High School.
The New Voices Spoken Word Poetry Club is a club at MHS that focuses on the art of poetry. Each month, New Voices challenges students with a new topic to craft their poetry about. Senior Priya Pandey, co-founder of the club, said that the topic for January is truth.
“What we are asking the Mason community to do is to search for what they believe is true,” Pandey said. “(We ask) to convey it in a poem and take that poem and perform it to a community of writers. Once this communication is actually held, you’re sharing intellectual ideas and you all are learning about ideas you’ve never considered because each individual is different. That’s how you grow more as a writer.”
To sophomore Jessica Wang, truth is what someone knows, but will not accept in reality. Wang focused her poem for January on this aspect of truth. By digging deeper into her heritage, she discovered more about herself and her family.
“There’s a poem by Phil K. online, it’s called ‘Teeth’, where he talks about his family’s history because he’s Jewish-Japanese,” Wang said. “It’s written in date format; it changes from present to past, which is really cool. I did something like that about my family, and the truth behind where we came from, and what people were like, even though I didn’t know most of the people.”
According to senior co-founder Alice Zhang, New Voices doesn’t only talk about family, but also themes that are prone to rising up in other poems, like religion, philosophy, and current events that are going on.
“It’s mainly a discussion group, but we also hold poetry slam events together,” Zhang said. “It’s kind of like a mish-mash of things that have to do with poetry.”
With a poetry slam being held each month, students can gather to unleash their true characters. According to Pandey, students give out compliments or constructive criticisms of the poet during the slam, which are viewed after the poetry slams.
“Usually we give people a paper, (and) we tell them to write down what they feel about the performance that is going on,” Pandey said. “This happens for every performer that goes on. You take the note, then you put it in an envelope for that performer, and at the end of the slam, the performer receives an envelope with comments. It’s very encouraging; it makes you feel good, and like someone’s listening.”
Zhang also feels like New Voices is a very strong support network for its members. Because the club is currently so small, she says that it feels like a family.
“Our members don’t necessarily know each other, but when we gather together into a group, it’s like we’ve known each other for a long time,” Zhang said. “I really love how everybody in the club is thoughtful, open minded, and very creative. I just love listening to other people reading their work, sharing my own, and exchanging thoughts.”
According to Zhang, poetry might not be a trending topic, but New Voices creates an environment where students share their work and not worry about judgement.
“(Poetry) is not something people just randomly talk about in their daily lives,” Zhang said. “It’s a safe place where we can share our work and talk about it. It is very relaxing, and knowing it’s a safe place to talk about family issues going on, or things in your personal life. It’s an important thing for many of our members.”
Pandey feels like writing poetry is not enough sometimes, which is why she created the club. She feels that the poetry isn’t real until it is communicated through words to others.
“There’s a different feeling about Spoken Word Poetry that’s different in writing,” Pandey said. “It makes you feel like the words you are writing are just coming alive, and it makes you feel powerful. There’s something beautiful about a room of people that give you that feeling. That’s what our club is all about.”