Last Thursday, March 8, students, faculty and community members flocked to La Hacienda of Forest Grove’s Main Street for a night of poetry.
To begin the night, Martha Rampton, director of the Center for Gender Equity, welcomed all participants and audience members as well as the night’s honored guest for the MFA Visiting Writers Series, Patricia Smith. Alongside the other poets present at La Hacienda, Smith read some of her own work and also served as one of the judges who determined the winners for the evening. Others seated at the judging table were Professor Kathlene Postma, senior Valerie Horres and junior Alycia Grassnickle. The event was made possible by the Elise Elliott Grant.
Emcee for the Slam Poetry Night, Krispin Jewkes, introduced each individual poet who then took the stage. Participants read their personal poetry for the audience and judges. Performing poets listed on the program for the evening included LaToya Hampton, David Maile, Oktavio Merecias, Maria Salazar, Jazzlyn Garrett, Michele Castro, Andrea Hope, Matthew Yasuoka, James Hipsher, Joan Graves, Eva Forrester, Kayte O’Day, Ian Scarthe and Joe Musselwhite.
After the readings of those who had previously volunteered, judges allowed time for those in the audience who wanted to have their work heard.
After the last-minute competitors were added to the lineup, the audience took the opportunity to cast their votes for “Crowd Favorite,” while the judges deliberated on the other categories of “Most Creative/Original Piece” and “Best Performance.”
Before announcing the winners for the evening, Smith took the stage to read some of her own poetry including pieces “Medusa” and “13.” Current collections of Smith’s work, “Blood Dazzler” and “Teahouse of the Almighty.”
To finish the evening, the voted “Crowd Favorite” was William Stanford, a participant who had come into Forest Grove for the day from Portland. Taking home the title for “Most Creative/Original Piece” was community member Johnny Nobueno. Lastly, community member James Hipsher was named the night’s “Best Performance.”