April 15, 2011

Hamline student poetry team excels

PoetrySlamFull

Hamline students know how to slam, and they are getting national attention for it, too.

Inspired by his own passion for poetry, junior Lewis Mundt formed an organization in the fall of 2010 that hosts monthly poetry competitions known as "slams."

“It seemed like the right time,” Mundt, a communications studies major, said. “I knew there was interest on campus, so I thought I’d give it a shot.”

The contests have since become a resounding success at Hamline. In addition to featuring renowned orators and spoken-word artists, these events have inspired students to participate by writing and listening and often draw an audience of more than 100 undergraduate students and community members.

Advised by Hamline's master of fine arts in writing professor and distinguished poet Deborah Keenan, the Hamline University Poetry Slam has quickly become a hub for local artists and a venue of creativity and self-expression for students.

“It’s exciting to create these new experiences,” Mundt said. “Performing poetry on a stage in front of others is an incredibly liberating experience.”

The winners of the competition were invited to attend the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational where their passion and energy resulted in significant accolades.

Besides winning ninth in the nation overall and being nominated for best writing for a team in its first year, students who represented Hamline at the national competition earned a long list of personal honors.

Juniors Paris Kelvakis and Kelly Glader presented pieces that were nominated for “Best Love Poem” and “Best Persona Poem” respectively. Mundt was nominated for the “Pushing the Art Forward” award for his writing and performance.

“I’m incredibly proud of everybody,” Mundt said. “Not just the people who competed, but everyone who has attended the slams and helped us build this new artistic community at Hamline.”