Last Wednesday marked the 5th annual Poetry Slam at Dante's. The event was sponsored by the Frostburg Center for creative writing, and the Slam was MC'd by Gerry LaFemina. Dante's was packed with an amalgam of different students waiting to hear written word, including local fraternities Delta Chi, Delta Phi Omega, and a group of poetry students hailing from Keyser West Virginia. Fourteen contestants braved the crowd to deliver some excellent poetry. Self-proclaimed rapper, Andrew Wilk, was all too ready: "I mean, the judges don't like my style, but fuck it. I got this." He said as he took a sip of his Yuengling lager.
The judges, however, seemed more interested in hearing poetry and more or less ignored the slam portion of the contest. Michelle Queen, who participated in the Slam, noted the judges lack of emphasis on stage presence: "Honestly, it really seems like the judges could care less about performance. I'd probably would've gotten a higher score if I would have read my poems straight from the paper, rather than memorizing them."
A bigger injustice would befell Ms. Queen after she forgot her lines and walked off stage, only to be berated by MC LaFemina, in an incident that felt awkward and unnecessary when he told the crowd to "Boo her" and not himself, after he wouldn't let Ms. Queen back on stage to finish her poem, per the judges request. Brendan Taylor, a member of the Dante's sound crew, shook his head unapproved at the attack on Ms. Queen.
After the incident though, the slam continued without any interruption or more weirdness than usual, although, contest Andrew Wilk ended up forgetting his lines in the final round and was disqualified as well. The turn out was great though, and the contestants that made it to the end deserved the generous prize money.