(Contributed) (Clockwise from left) Frequent slammer Jacob Pekari, supporter Aidan Scotland, organizer Hallie Robinson, and advertising aid Melanie Robinson with the MRSS Spoken Word Society.

Fireside slams and poetry in Maple Ridge

Everyone welcome to campfire themed poetry slam at Maple Ridge secondary

If you haven’t tried your hand at poetry, here’s your chance.

The Spoken Word Society at Maple Ridge secondary are holding the second of four poetry slams they will be having throughout the school year. And it is open to the public.

This slam will have a campfire theme meaning the slam will be arranged in a circular fashion in the school library.

There will be a campfire depicted on the stage and attendees are encouraged to wear comfortable “campfire” clothing and bring blankets and pillows to make themselves comfortable for the event.

S’mores, pretzels and hot chocolate will also be served.

“Although we do have a theme for the decor and the atmosphere, there is never any restrictions on the actual performances or pieces,” said Hallie Robinson, president of the Spoken Word Society at the school.

Anybody can slam at any time about anything.

There will be a sign up sheet, but slammers can also decide to perform whenever they would like during the event.

“There are some random people who are writing in the moment while they watching and they come up and slam and some people who get some bravado and then they will do theirs,” explained Karen Aitken, teacher/librarian at MRSS adding that it will be prepared slam infused with the impromptu.

She says that it is a great event not only because there are a lot of voices that are never heard until this evening but that it connects all kinds of people who don’t event know each other.

Poetry slams had their start in Chicago in 1984 by a construction worker and poet named Marc Smith.

The last poetry slam at MRSS was held on Nov. 2 had a black and white theme and silent black and white films were played in the half hour before the slam.

This slam will feature acoustic music for the first half hour.

Robinson is hoping to fill the library. Previous slams they have had up to 120 people to attend.

”It’s a very unique way to express yourself because words on a page just really don’t do it,” said Robinson.

“However, when you do spoken word poetry, it’s more of a performance, as if you are acting in a play almost. Not only do they hear the passion and emotion in your voice, but they get to see it whether it be in your motions, your posture, your positioning, the tone of your voice,” she said adding that it is like art coming alive.

What Robinson likes the most about spoken word is that the same poem can be said 20 times and each one will be different depending on who is presenting it, what they are feeling that day and how they interpret it that day.

“Nothing is ever the same or can be said quite the same twice,” she said.

Aitken says since the society was started at the school last year, students have excelled at spoken word.

“They sometimes are writing the slam the night before. They are true, strong slammers,” she said.

Ultimately, though, it is a fun night out with friends where you can meet new people.

“It’s an appreciation of the arts night. What’s not to love,” added Robinson.

Slam time

Fireside Slams takes place Dec. 20 in the library at Maple Ridge Secondary School at 21911 122 Ave. in Maple Ridge.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the slam starts at 7 p.m. and will run for around an hour.

It is a free event.

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