Speak Fresh takes on the road to national competition

AU’s slam poetry group sends five candidates to blow competitors away in Chicago

Speak Fresh takes on the road to national competition

Speak Fresh member Emma -Claire Martin practices her poetry in preparation for the Collegiate Unions Poetry Slam Invitational.

When you walk into one of Speak Fresh’s poetry slams, you can usually expect to see a crowd of people snapping their fingers from their comfy seats all over the Perch or the Dav. One after the other, you’re introduced to new poets who give you a glimpse into their lives through the words of a single powerful piece. By the end of the night, you have to take a second to marvel at the fact that you’ve been exposed to so much life in such a small amount of time.

On March 6, things were different; it was time to get down to business.

Rather than spending the night performing for an audience, Speak Fresh, AU’s slam poetry group, instead decided to use the night to prepare for the Collegiate Unions Poetry Slam Invitational, which will take place in Chicago from April 12-15. The event consists of college groups from across the United States and Canada who compete over the course of four days. Monday night’s meeting finalized which five members would make up Speak Fresh’s poetry team.

Emma-Claire Martin, a junior in the School of Communications, was glad that selecting the five poets for the show was not a difficult process.

“It just so happened only five of us could go based on our schedule, which is awesome because that means we didn’t have to choose,” Martin said. “I’m really excited about the team, I think it’s five strong poets and we’re going to have a really fun time.”

Martin, along with junior Kendall Barron, junior Ryan Shepard, junior Bayadir Mohamed, and freshman Sydney Mclane will represent AU at the competition.

Mclane is excited and proud to be the only freshman attending the event this year.

“There are actually a lot of freshmen in the club, we’re called the Speak Freshmen,” Mclane said. “But most of them didn’t feel comfortable or want to go this year, so I was the only one.”

The team hopes to begin fundraising in the upcoming weeks in order to raise a sufficient amount of money to cover all travel expenses.

Despite the small audience at their event, the night was filled with pain and intense feeling as the poets shared original stories of depression, oppression and the fight for feminism in the form of spoken word. Until the competition, they intend on continuing with practices as well as holding more open mics in the future in order to share such art and emotion with the AU community.

Speak Fresh’s last show of the year will take place on Wednesday, April 3 from 8-9 p.m. in MGC 3-4. Tickets are available here.


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