Thoughts From the Lubbock High Poetry Slam

"I was expecting to hear some of the poetry I would have scratched out in my formative years, but became increasingly impressed by the readers."

a collage made of sticker, and words

My teenager doesn't drive yet (thank goodness), so I took he and his girlfriend to a poetry slam last week, hosted by Lubbock High School, and organized by their inspiring teacher, Erin Castle. I've been a poet since around age 13 when I was ruined forever by the Viking Anthology of Poetry and its romantic and pre-WWII modernists. I was expecting to hear some of the poetry I would have scratched out in my formative years, but became increasingly impressed by the readers. What unfolded was an evening of some small amount of teen angst, smattered with fledgling steps into poetic boxing, and punctuated by a most revealing, and honest poetry that could only be forged in the furnace of painful youth. The poets evoked loneliness, a miscellany of the stages of love and longing, gender nightmares, and a startlingly informed grasp of the culture of rape shame, and masculine hostility. The poetess Katie told of how her parents taught her to learn "dressing to avoid rape" and that it would best for her not to give boys the wrong idea. A young poet named Riley stormed galliantly across the stage with his walker, the sound of it creating another poem with its reverberating groan throughout the quiet of the theater. His words "the wide corridors of my mind" enunicated with the most emotion of the evening. Other topics of high emotion included racial profiling, and teen lust, and space-time, and the loss of the future, and the "broken world" given to these poets to fix. The evening gave me hope for poetry and for the future, which I had much need of of late.


Image: Original collage/poem artwork by Michael Glenn

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