Chaminade Hosts Poetry Slam

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Peter Johnson

"Hawaii Slam Poet," Travis T warms up the crowd.

Chaminade University hosted a poetry slam on Nov.19 in collaboration with Kaimuki High school on the lawn in front of the Sullivan library.

More than 60 people came to listen to original poetry.

“It’s a great way for people to express how they feel,” said slam host Travis T, who works with troubled youth at the Pacific Learning Community Center. “Especially young people who have things to get off their chest.”

The event was put on but the Chaminade Radio Club in collaboration with the Brooks Carlson service learning center as well as the Kaimuki High School art department.

Poetry is an artistic outlet where anyone who has a voice can participate.

The slam consisted of four Kaimuki high school and five Chaminade poets as well as one open mic performance; the whole event lasted for an hour and a half, ending with a beat boxing performance by Oahu’s own “Human Beatbox,” Jason Tom.

The evening began with three poems and two haikus from the night’s host/mc Travis T. He introduced the event, announced who was next and helped to set the pace for the night.

The first poets were Kaimuki students.

Israel Kehano a junior, performed one poem about the struggles at home he has with his mother and how frustrated it makes him, but at the end of the day him and his mother both love each other. He dedicated the poem to his mother, friends and teachers.

Following Kehano was sophomore, Kimberly Hernandez, another high school student. Her poem touched subjects including social acceptance and belonging to a group.

The final high school poet was Justin Bersen recited a poem about a bad breakup. The poem reflected how much that affected him physically and mentally.

Patrick Evans, 20, was the first Chaminade student to recite his poetry. His poem was about the universe and how small earth is in comparison to the cosmos.

The last three poets of the night were Caroline Samuela, Kehealani Uahara and Allie Nishihawa. Poem topics included relationships, everyday stresses and feelings about politics.

There was also a special open mic performance by Chaminade’s own Starr Benson, who read her poem called “Authentic,” which was about staying true to herself and her family.

“Poetry gives me a way to express myself,” said Kaimuki High School senior Israel Kehano.“It gives me an outlet to escape reality.”

The last performance of the night was Hawaii’s own Jason Tom. Also known as “the Human Beatbox,” he played several songs. All of the songs were performed using sounds entirely from his mouth. He performed Michael Jackson’s “Billy Jean,” as well as a few original tracks that he made himself. These tunes sounded like a combination of rap and electric dance music.

Traditionally poetry slams have a competitive component to them in which a winner will be decided when compared to the other poems.

However, this slam did not include judges. Instead, the participant’s simply recited their original poems to the audience. This made the environment stress free and fun. It was not as serious as a traditional poetry slam but that made for an entertaining event.