PROSERS NOT POSERS. In the second round, junior Martin Hernandez performs his poem “Not Second Place.” Hernandez placed first in the Boone Poetry Slam on April 20.

After each performance at the Poetry Slam, the MC reminded the audience that, “the point is not the points; the point is the poetry.” Despite the audience’s groans, the message rings true for the performers.

While all three Boone competitors made it to the second round, junior Martin Hernandez exceeded the time limit for his second poem and lost his spot in the third round. For the total scores in each round, the highest and lowest points get dropped and any extra time taken deducts additional points. Due to these deductions, Martin fell just short of placing, and his final poem went unscored.

“My pieces are all on edit mode- never being where they need to be. It was really just a mistake. I’d gone over it millions of times, but in the crowd, on the stage with lights, it’s way different,” Hernandez said.

Nevertheless, the 50 audience members clung to his final performance- a prediction for the future of American education should nothing change. As he twitched and shook on stage, bodies shifted in their chairs in anticipation of the next stanza, and silence gripped the auditorium until he delivered his final word. 

“I thought people wouldn’t understand or even really care, but on the contrary, even though some of them haven’t been in the circumstances, they are interested and amazed. Most of all, their eyes have been open to the truth, and that’s what I’ve always wanted, to open people’s eyes to the truth that goes on,” Hernandez said.

Unlike Hernandez, sophomore Ana Ciro took first place in the competition. But, as she delivered her spoken words, she too strove for more than a tally of accomplishments. 

“I participated in the poetry slam because I wanted to be heard, and I wanted to share my story. Too often we let conversations be dominated by the same people over and over again, but we have to remember to lift up everyone’s voice and listen,” Ciro said.

No matter the topic or the placing, Poetry Slam aims to provide performers with the opportunity to showcase both their talents and concerns for all to hear.

Further coverage of the event can be found here.

By Kaitlyn Connolly

Second-year staffer, and Editorial/Opinion Editor, with an affinity for cookies, critters, and country music.

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