Cerritos College
Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

Cerritos College • Norwalk, Calif.

Talon Marks

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Poetry Slam rewards students’ work

Orlando Dominguez/TM

Judges chose deaf student Francisco Arias as the winner of the $75 prize of the second annual Poetry Slam, for his performance of his original poem, “Essence.”

The Library Club opened the doors for the Poetry Slam, after high demand, to let poetic students be able to showcase their talents.

“The Poetry Night started out as an idea, but people thought it was a great idea. Especially since there wasn’t such a huge poetic outcry. So this was the perfect venue for it because there are a lot of talented students at Cerritos, and this is where they can speak,” Enrique Silliezar, president of Library Club, said.

The night brought out 18 performers who all came out to perform their recent work, including the third place winner of $25, English major Brianna Vega, who performed her poem, “Echo, Echo.”

“I wasn’t really expecting to win anything. Everyone was great, so it was cool,” Vega said.

Students who submitted their poems in the open themed contest before the March 30 deadline all had a chance to perform for a possible cash prize and a certificate.

For the students who were participating in the contest, including biology major Benjamin Nwakamas who performed his untitled poem.

“I didn’t write my poem to win, I just saw the Poetry Night as an opportunity to express myself. If I win, that’s cool, but if I lose, oh well,” Nwakama said.

Second place winner, Benjamin Lewis, who performed a poem titled “I Just Want You to Love Me,” also wasn’t looking to win, but still came out with a $50 prize.

“Honestly, I didn’t perform so I could place and win anything because that’s when poems start to suck. I wanted to do this because I like to write. When I miss my intentions in doing things, that’s when I start to mess up, but I got what I got,” Lewis said.

Students were given the opportunity to write about topics they felt they would be able to express the most about.

“We wanted to leave the topic open to the poets because if we told them to write about love or a certain topic, I think it may have pushed away some of the poets, and we didn’t want to do that. So we left the topic open and uncensored so people can say whatever they like,” Silliezar said.

With the topic opened, students wrote about many different topics and had different influences to write what they did.

“I was listening to a Lauryn Hill song, and at the end of it, there were kids in a classroom, and a kid was explaining why if he ever hurt his girlfriend, he would do everything to make sure she felt better, and the teacher asked, ‘Why?’ and he said, ‘I just want her to love me,’ and that seems like that is the root of a lot of people’s trouble; that they just want someone to love them,” Lewis said.

After the three winners were named, the Library Club opened the mic up to everyone in attendance who wanted to perform originals and pre-written poems that they would want to perform, but wouldn’t be judged.

Other than the three students who got awards, the club also gave the three judges awards of appreciation for taking the time to be there.

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Poetry Slam rewards students’ work