Venice Poets Return To In-Person Poetry Slam


Julissa Alvarado, Reporter

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Poets at Venice High performed in the seventh annual Poetry Slam during sixth period last Friday.

The performance is in collaboration with the Get Lit-Words Ignite, a non-profit organization that brings poetry to the youth, working with multiple schools around Los Angeles.

Poets expressed their feelings while performing their poems. Students addressed different topics in their work, including personal and social issues, and relationships.

Junior Summer Hamzeh was moved by this art form. 

“I was inspired to write this poem because I was surprised to see a poem in an anthology about arabic identity,” she said. “I was drawn to it because it’s something I struggle with.”

The last two poetry slams have been held virtually due to the pandemic—but they did very well, according to English Teacher Hazel Kight-Witham, the adviser of the Poetry Club. Venice High’s slam team, made up of a smaller group of poets, made it to the Get Lit finals the last two years. 

Each student participating claims a “classic” poem from another poet, memorizes it, and writes a response to it. 

“It’s just a really beautiful approach to celebrating poetry and spoken word,” said Witham.

These “classic” poems come from the annual Get Lit anthology, and are chosen not because they’re old, but because they are timeless.

Sophomore Jaylen Germani said that poetry is unique to every individual. 

“The slam is about seeing what others have written and putting a new perspective on it that is personal to you,” Germani said. “As a teen, I’ve always had a problem when I get asked, ‘what’s wrong?’ Poetry helped me express my emotions.”