Last Thursday, local poets congregated at Canvas Artistry to showcase their best slam poems and compete for a chance to win poet of the night. The open-mic event was hosted by the Burque Revolt Poetry Slam in collaboration with the Lobo Slam team.
“We welcome and embrace the stories of women of color, our LGBTQ community, our youth and our college students," said Mercedez Holtry, president of the board and co-founder of Burque Revolt. "We hold a space for people to be themselves through spoken word, poetry, writing and creative writing.”
At the event poets performed in 30 minute rounds and were scored by patrons of Canvas Artistry. A local DJ performed in between rounds, and a percentage of food and beer purchased throughout the evening was donated to the Burque Revolt and Lobo Slam teams.
Holtry, a former president of the Lobo Slam, emphasized the partnership between the Burque Revolt and Lobo Slam teams and their goal of engaging University of New Mexico students in slam poetry.
The Burque Revolt is a non-profit organization that is focused on providing a safe space for individuals to create and share poetry and other forms or art. The team often puts on poetry workshops at local schools to encourage artistic self-expression in at-risk communities.
“We have about 6-7 events happening per month and throughout those events every week we are teaching workshops in local public schools,” said Dnessa Mcdaniel, lead poet of Burque Revolt. “The goal is to show youth that they have another way of expressing themselves. In Albuquerque we have a lot of youth starting off early with records, so when we go to teach at workshops we want to show them that they have a voice and they have a different way to use it.”
Although the event was a competition, little emphasis was placed on the scoring system and all energy was directed toward supporting the slammers. The evening was full of vibrant performances and enthusiastic support from participants and attendees alike. During the event, speech was uncensored and the audience interacted with the poets through snaps, yells and even hisses.
“Poetry brings people together because it’s just so raw and passionate, and people really show their true colors” said Jose Duran, a UNM student and member of Lobo Slam.
Duran noted that standing in front of a crowd to perform is daunting at first, but he is drawn to the poetry community by the connections made with other poets through sharing their work.
Students can get involved in the slam community by visiting the Burque Revolt website, https://burquerevoltpoetryslam.wordpress.com/ where all event dates are posted. Poetry slams are held at the Canvas Artistry every first Thursday of the month.
The Burque Revolt and Lobo Slam teams are looking forward to the annual Lobo Slam, showcasing UNM and CNM students, to be held on April 17 at Winnings Coffee.
Elisabetta Mackin is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @elisabettamackn.