As part of the festivities that commemorated the 2019 Homecoming week, the John B. Cade Library held a particularly new Homecoming event. On October 29, the John B. Cade Library hosted a Poetry Slam Contest in the library breezeway at 12:00PM, adjacent to the Food and Vendor Expo in the Smith-Brown Memorial Union Courtyard. The poetry slam was attended by students and various alumni, with the judges being a mixture of the two groups themselves.
Members of the Southern Soul - a club devoted to self-expression through mediums such as poetry, dance and fine arts - participated in the event as well as its planning. Devon Hicks, a junior Computer Science major from Antioch, CA, expressed the importance of the event as the vice-president of the Southern Soul: “It meant exposure for all of us. It gave us the opportunity to spread our wings and get better at our craft.” He also shared his own personal appreciation for the event as a poet and writer, “It definitely gave me the confidence to step out of my comfort zone and say my poetry in front of people. I’ve never done a slam before, so it was amazing to share my work with others. Also, it was cool to hear other poets works also.”
Numerous participants took the opportunity to share their work, including Dawn Knight, Dean of the John B. Cade Library. The poetry slam was both a chance for artistic expression as well as a contest, with the winners being given two Bayou Classic bunker suite tickets, a Google Home Mini or a Southern University sweatshirt.
After 2 rounds of judge deliberations, the final three winners were chosen based on audience reaction, with a sound machine recording cheering following the performances. Elijah Pipersburg, a Southern University Law Student from Oakland, CA, won 3rd place, his entries consisting of a blend of touching spoken word and rap. Jahmea Williams, a Junior from Baton Rouge, LA, was awarded 2nd place, performing heavy-hitting poems that empathized with the audience. Safari Thompson, a Sophomore from Houston, TX, took home the 1st place, winning the audience over through creative and light-hearted pieces.
Psychology major Chassity Griffin from Opelousas, LA also participated in the poetry slam, hoping to represent well as the Event Coordinator of the Southern Soul. “As an artist, the poetry slam gave me the opportunity to showcase my talent to other people and to hopefully inspire them to share their talents as well. I feel that because three of our members of Southern Soul who happen to be on the executive board participated in the poetry slam, it gave us an opportunity to showcase to other people the kinds of things we do in Southern Soul and hopefully get them to join as well.”