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Poetry Slam provides new twist for FHSU students


The Hays Daily News

Four poets stepped to the Memorial Union Ballroom stage to show their skills for a full house at the fifth annual Poetry Slam on Tuesday. Fort Hays State University junior Matthew Spurlock, senior Ashley Anderson, freshman Curtis Beal and sophomore Tre' Giles each performed two poems, hoping to come out as the top poet of the evening.

The Poetry Slam was hosted by University Activities Board, Diversity Affairs and the English Department. The event featured Devin T. Robinson "Egypt" as emcee. He is not just a poet but an actor as well. He performs motivational pieces on topics such as HIV, sex and black history and has appeared on MTV, NBC, FOX and many others.

Robinson makes sure he always leaves with a positive message. "Live to die remembered" is his motto. Through his career, he said he hopes to show people no matter how their lives start, they always can change the middle and the end. He performed several pieces including "She" and "Read."

With him as emcee, the night took an unofficial theme of diversity and self-awareness. Spurlock started off the night and set the theme with a powerful performance about the United States as super-nation, acting as "a big brother, cutting ourselves off from our mother." He said it's time for a change and time to embrace diversity.

Anderson followed Spurlock with a performance titled "Push," in which she encouraged pushing through the hard times of life.

"Sometimes life will get you down, have you thinkin' it'll never turn around, and it's in those moments, I hope you push."

Next up was Beal, who spoke a short poem about life. He asked the age-old question, "What is life?"

Giles followed with his first poetry performance. Before he started, he told the audience he never had written poetry before, so this was something new for him. He "preached" a religious poem about how God is always with you.

"I've never been to something like this before, and I wasn't sure what to expect. But it was a pretty good performance, and the students did a really good job," said FHSU senior Megan Rehm.

The four poets all performed a second piece before the verdict was decided on who would win. They were judged by a panel of four judges consisting of two FHSU students, senior Anne Drees and freshman Erick Perez, and two faculty members, Brett Bruner and Jenna Day.

Giles won third and a pair of Beats by Dre headphones. Second was Anderson, who won a Kindle Fire HD. Spurlock took first and an iPad Mini.

Not only did he take first, he also took fan-favorite, which won him an iTunes gift card. As part of their prizes as well, the three winners will have a showcase in the Spring Gallery Walk on April 25.