Poets Gather to Slam at Stony Brook

What is Love?

That was the question answered by the twelve poets who performed at the fifth slam poetry event held in the Stony Brook University Tabler Center Blackbox Theatre on Wednesday.

According to Farzana Karim, a senior majoring in health science and one of the recruitment directors for the poetry slam – which was originally created in support of culture and the arts – approximately 100 people were in attendance, including alumni, students, and visitors. Karim said the chosen theme, “What is Love?” was due to the event’s close proximity to Valentine’s Day.

“People learn from other people. People get new thoughts, new ideas, start creating things themself. A lot of people feel more inspired,” Karim explained.

Among the performers was Sydney Cervantes, a junior majoring in English and minoring in international studies, who read on stage for the first time:

As our lips embrace, I surrender

I’ve fallen victim to the warm sensation traveling down my spine

Following his every touch

Making me breathless as time stops

Cervantes has been writing since she was 15 years old, but was hesitant to perform her material because she felt it would put her in a vulnerable position. After participating in the event, Cervantes said she’d be willing to do it again.

“Even though everyone’s story is different, it makes us one.”

Raven Willis, a senior double majoring in psychology and sociology and minoring in religious studies, has already performed poetry at the Tabler Blackbox Theatre two times over the past two weeks, including a poetry competition for Black History Month. She gave her third performance at the “What is Love?” event, reading her poem titled, “This Love of Ours”:

And I don’t want to, but I need to leave you alone

Because you keep leaving me

But I don’t have to give you my heart, because I gave you the key

And now you just come and go whenever you please

Willis believes these events provide an outlet for individuals to express emotions they would otherwise choose to conceal.

“I know I used to use poetry as a way to communicate when I couldn’t and I feel like this is a good way to allow people to kind of spill their souls,” she explained.

Among those in the audience was May 2014 SBU alum, Robin Goodfellow Malamud, who has performed at two Blackbox poetry slams in the past. Malamud said that events such as this provide creative opportunities that would otherwise only be available in places like city.

“I think having this venue to showcase people’s work, especially young, new poets, is really valuable.”

The Tabler Blackbox stage where the poets told their stories.
The Tabler Blackbox stage where the poets told their stories.
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