Students may have developed stronger bonds with each other after attending the third annual poetry slam on Oct. 31, organized by Phi Beta Sigma. 

The event was started to instill a sense of community in the student body, Phi Beta Sigma organizers said.

“You see gradually as the years go on they don’t go out their dorms, and we’re a commuter school so they don’t leave home,” Martez Jemison said, a WSU senior, organizer and judge of the event. “It was a nice turnout and I appreciate everyone for coming.”

Established members of Detroit’s poetry scene jammed with WSU students during the musical interludes but captured the attention of students during their performances. 

The poetry slam was held tournament style with six contestants and three rounds. After each round the panel of judges, which consisted of three WSU students, tallied the scores and a contestant was eliminated. 

The experience of being a judge was challenging but he enjoyed the process, Jemison said.

“Being a judge is quite different because it’s my first time doing it,” Jemison said. “I love music and I love poetry. I love spoken work so it wasn’t hard for me to identify word usage, clarity, stage presence, creativity because I’m infatuated with music and poetry. 

The first contestant eliminated was Martez “Sheezy Bo Beezy” Hogan, a Detroit poet and co-founder of the Detroit Poetry Society. This is Hogan’s third time participating in the poetry slam. He was the champion of the first annual competition. 

His love for poetry is more important than winning a competition, Hogan said

“I love poetry so I write it, perform it and dedicate my life to doing it and teaching people how to do it,” Sheezy said. “I didn’t get out the first round. But I’m glad that the artists are getting more exposure.” 

The message of the piece he performed during the competition was to encourage people to find and use their voice to add their perspective into the world, Hogan said. 

“I want other people to be able to know you can write because you have a voice and your voice is important because you have a whole wealth of experience,” Hogan said. “A lot of people hinder their voices because they think of what other people would think, but their voice is so important.”

Quinton “Ethereal” Robinson, who has been a professional wordsmith for over 10 years, was the winner of the second and third annual poetry slam.  

Robison said he enjoyed this opportunity to network and “exchange positive energy.”

“I don’t really look at it as a competition because that creates negative energy,” Robinson said.  “It’s more of a competition with myself. It’s to push harder and write harder, to create better concepts and better poems and not only write them but be able to perform them in ways that people will respond to them and people will enjoy.”

Win or lose, his main goal is to share different sides of himself and inspire others to do the same, Robinson said. 

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