Katie Wirsing is an open book. The slam poet from Denver, Colo. talks about life experiences in her poetry, as she finds it cathartic. She finds that reading poetry exercises traumas in her life as she claims that she is not a good communicator otherwise.
“It’s a really neat way [to share for] people with important things to say or traumas they need to work out for themselves. Everyone can come together and have these common conversations of experiences that people go through,” said Wirsing, about slam poetry.
For those who do not know, slam poetry is generally a competition among poets of spoken word that are judged, “as much on the manner and enthusiasm of its performance as its content or style,” according to http://www.poets.org.
Wirsing describes the art form as, “an awesome game. It’s an awesome community builder. It’s kind of open mic meets the Olympics meets awesome.”
On Wednesday night, Wirsing took the Union Stage to share her love for slam poetry with the students at Springfield College. She started her set by engaging the crowd with different jokes and asking for audience participation by screaming either “Hell yeah!” or “Hallelujah!”
She talked about her recent experiences such as being in Houston on Tuesday and not having anything to do, so she decided to visit the National Museum of Funeral History. She spun subsequent jokes into her first poem, which talked about her grandmother.
Wirsing moved seamlessly from poem to banter and back to poem. If an audience member was not paying attention, he or she would not catch the beginning of a poem because it appeared so conversational.
Wirsing is one of many acts the Campus Activities Board, or CAB, brings to campus in order to not only entertain the students, but to also broaden their horizons.
CAB member Forrest Pratt described the group going to their annual conference and coming back with ideas for different acts that would be interesting for the students to see.
“It’s more bringing together acts of a bunch of different genres. We have a national conference that we send people to every year and they bring back acts that they think the students will like, that they liked,” said Pratt.
The acts CAB chooses can be seen throughout campus, with most appearing on the Union Stage. Both passersby and people who actually want to watch the show can be entertained for however long they please.
In Wirsing’s case, not many people left their respective tables while she was performing: she was too entertaining and enthralling. She kept the audience laughing with her off-kilter humor, and kept them drawn in with her deep, personal poetry that was recited with a silky smooth tone and descended upon the listeners in eloquence.
Wirsing implored the audience to find a vehicle in which they could make themselves feel better, like she found hers in slam poetry. Make sure to be on the lookout for more acts put on by CAB, because they are something special.