The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Point is Poetry

+BY Cadie Elder and Josh Sherfy

Freshman Payton Bennett was ready. This is her first year at Northwest, and her first chance to speak her mind at the Poetry Slam.

“If you wanna say something,” Bennett said, “at poetry slam, everyone will listen.”

There are nerves. The eyes of a school all focused on you, ready to hear what there is to be said. Emotion is left on the stage. Hearts pour out, and audiences relate.

Though Bennett considers herself more of a writer than a poet, today, she has the stage.

“I don’t really enjoy ‘writing’ poetry, but I enjoy the venting, and poetry is just the aftermath,” Bennett said.

Bennett uses poetry to express emotions. Sometimes her own, other times, the emotions come from those around her. But it is always poetry.

Stepping into an environment like the poetry slam was intimidating, but Bennett’s nerves receded when she began to read. Her fear of presenting in front of audiences subsided, and poetry spilled from her lips.

“It’s like, everyone there is supporting you,” Bennett said, “If you’re gonna do it, you might as well just do it there. Everyones in the same boat.”

Poetry has power. Bennett, an avid writer, understands this, calling poetry, “a story, just with more line breaks.” She’s sees poetry as an opportunity. Leaving paragraphs and pages upon pages in books, taking the stage to speak her mind.

Poetry is different. Poetry is real.The deep emotion, inspiration and heart warming of traditional slam poetry did not appeal to seniors Danny Louvau and Kyler Akagi. This, their last year at Northwest, presented them with the perfect opportunity to be different.

Poetry is about making a statement. Louvau and Akagi certainly made theirs. They presented a two person satirical comedy about “the Best of Northwest,” that had the crowd snapping and laughing when it was all said and done.

The poets presented together, an aspect uncommon at this years poetry slam event.

“It makes a different dynamic in the performance,” Louvau said, “When you’re alone, you don’t have the opportunity to interact with the crowd as well.”

The lighthearted poem was based off a Web series called Jake and Amir. In the series, Jake, portrayed by Akagi, is a more sophisticated and intelligent character, while Louvau mimicked the “loveable loser”, Amir.

The conversation between the characters changed as the poem carried on.

“I’d say part of it when it was me reading off his ‘script’ that he wrote was just dialogue but at the end, , that’s when I really argue with him,” Akagi said.

Akagi rebutes Louvau’s sarcastic claims about the “best of Northwest” through poetry. Poetry is dynamic. It is not a style. It just is. Louvau and Akagi brought laughs to the stage, and sent a message, with poetry.

Sophomore Daniela Silva is constantly thinking. She is thinking about the world around her and the people in it. Slam poetry allows her words to be brought to life.

“Sometimes it feels like poetry doesn’t exist until someone is listening to it,” Silva said.

Silva was introduced to poetry in her seventh grade creative writing class, but it was not always easy for her to articulate emotions.

“ gives me an outlet to be heard, that goes against my general nature as a person because I’m not someone who is prone to speaking up,” Silva said.

Silva participated in the 2014 Poetry Slam with a partner, but this year she took the stage alone.

“People get on stage and they have three minutes to be absolutely fearless,”
Silva said. “What always really sticks with me, is when you are looking around and you realize how many people from the school are in there , especially people you wouldn’t expect.”

The Poetry Slam provides a safe environment for student’s to let their emotions and opinions run free, Silva believes it is natural for poetry to be infused with emotion, but that there is a time and a place to be angry.

“We live in an angry world, so sometimes it is nice to be on the less confrontational side of things,” Silva said.

Her poem titled “The Hand That is Dealt” challenged fate versus free will. The audience was left wondering if choices we make really do impact the outcome of our lives.

“People are really preoccupied with the ending,” Silva said. “I’ve decided to stick to the philosophy that the middle is more important.”“What is poetry?”“Well, it’s pretty much the expression of all of my emotions and thoughts from over the years, combined and smashed into about three minutes.” – senior Daniel Messick

“Poetry to me means everything, I would never have thought that the 26 letters of the alphabet would have saved me quite literally.” – freshman Madelyn St. Clair

“Poetry is… you. It’s yourself. It’s who you are and how you feel and what you believe in. I can look back on poetry I wrote a while ago, or even last year and I can see how much I’ve grown and changed and learned to look at the good things in life. It’s kind of a time capsule of the past years of your life.” – sophomore Tess Holcom

“To me, poetry is a way to sort through all of my emotions and feelings and get it all on paper. It’s more for me than anyone else… it’s a way for me to understand myself.” – junior Zachary Ziegenhorn

“It’s a way to tell people about your inspirations or aspirations.” – sophomore Alex Oleson

“Poetry is… making something not pretty, into something beautiful.” – sophomore Natalia Kidder

“I use to poetry to try to and make people as happy as they can be.” – junior Jake Honer

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The Point is Poetry