The 2007 Poetry Slam sponsored by the Black Student Union saw 11 people vie for first place in this year’s contest, with an additional bonus of having poet Queen Sheba on hand to both judge and read some of her poetry.
Julius Ferguson took home first prize with his rap, not reading, of his poetry. He titled his work “Analysis” and took home the first place with an excellent mix of vocabulary and play on words.
“One day, I was on a bus in Florida, and I had a lot of free time. The first couple of lines just came to me, and I thought, should I fantasize? No, I should analyze,” said Ferguson of his rap.
“It’s my style. I’m expressing the issues (that I feel passionately about) from my heart. I make people see things that they might not notice,” he said.
Second place went to Shalay, a student here at Quinnipiac, who read a poem about how actions speak louder than words. Third prize was a graduate student named Brian, whose poem was titled “Minds,” and used metaphors about how many young people waste their minds because of apathy towards learning. He also compared the students’ minds to prisoners, who have nothing to look forward to.
Also present was Quinnipiac University professor Timothy Dansdill, who is the founder of QUILL (Quinnipiac University Ignites Lyric Life), a group which meets Thursdays at the Bobcat Den to read poetry or sing songs which have been created by the students.
“When the Black Student Union calls for poetry, it’s not just for black students,” Dansdill said. “Creativity has no color. We need to do this (more poetry readings) all the time.”
Dansdill, who read an e-mail sent to him by a former student, believes that these types of readings will help students learn to appreciate one another and hopefully end whatever racism exists on this campus.
“You never know what effect you will have on people,” he said. “In the e-mail, my former student said to ‘listen in stillness.’ She’s telling us to listen to each other. It’s about the community.”
Some people, like Rhonda Allen, came because they wanted to hear the music.
“Programs like these help to talk about diversity,” Allen said. “We can address the issues going on. This school does not do enough to discourage hate.”
Topping off the festivities was a guest appearance by Queen Sheba, a renowned poet famous for her ability to speak quickly. Coming to the campus with her fifth CD, “The Domino Effect,” she read her poems in a rapid style which was a mixture of rap and storytelling. Her poems reflected her activist attitudes, primarily about the relationship between men and women, rich versus poor, and of course, a poem about her and her husband, and the kind of relationship they had.