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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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4th annual Texas Grand Slam the largest to date


Excited chatter and upbeat tunes flutter throughout the dusky theater hall. The lights dim. A reverence falls across the crowd. The poet speaks.
This weekend marked Mic Check Poetry’s fourth annual Texas Grand Slam Poetry festival. Poets from across the nation came together to compete and share spoken word with Bryan-College Station.
Spanning two days and four venues, this year’s Grand Slam was the largest one to date. The first night consisted of several rounds of poets’ recitations in three different venues in Downtown Bryan — The Grand Stafford, Revolution Cafe and The Village Cafe. The final round of the competition was held in Rudder Auditorium.
Jeremiah Payne, who goes by the stage name “The Fluent One,” took first place, with Christopher Michael in second place and Jess Howard in third.
TGS co-director David Land, Mic Check vice president and telecommunications and media studies sophomore, said the broad perspectives that the poets’ messages offer brought the community of writers, poets and audience together.
“One of the reasons I like the spoken word community so much is because of how unapologetically raw and political it gets,” Land said. “Hearing other perspectives and learning from them is one of the best parts of it.”
Dylan Thomas Cosper, international studies senior, said this was his first year to attend TGS. Cosper said there was a great variety of material that the writers touched. The subjects included civil and human rights issues, international politics, love, death and even a bit of humor.
Landon Fisher, English junior, said these issues are important to bring into question through poetry. Fisher said he noticed a new theme that became more prevalent this year.
“I feel that race and gender are always big themes, but I did realize that I have noticed several this year about economic inequality,” Fisher said. “That’s not something I’ve seen as much that was spoken about in previous years.”
Aleenah Spencer, TGS poet coordinator and biomedical sciences senior, said she enjoyed the atmosphere that the festival provided — one that encouraged a free exchange of ideas and communication.
“The environment of the festival was amazing — just powerful,” Spencer said. “The audience was supportive of whatever the poets had to say, and I appreciate that it all came from a mature and realistic, knowledgeable standpoint.”
Mic Check member and English senior Amber Harmon said she was impressed by the growth of both Mic Check and Grand Slam.
“This is my fourth year being involved with Mic Check, and I’m happy to see how more and more students are getting involved to come and listen to all these poets,” Harmon said.
Spencer said she noticed the increase in community involvement.
“Before they started the final stage of the slam, we asked the audience how many people had never been to Grand Slam or Mic Check before, and half the audience literally raised their hands,” Spencer said.
Land said Mic Check will continue to build upon the relationship between the organization and the community.
“This year was much, much bigger than any other,” Land said. “It keeps all of us motivated to push even harder to keep this thing growing and growing.”
“The Fluent One” took first place at the Texas Grand Slam Poetry festival.
Photo by Nikita Redkar

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