Poetry takes flight at Noble Central

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Students Kennedi O’Brien, left, and Abbey Dorchak delivered their poem with passion to win the group category at Noble Central School’s Poetry Slam.

NOBLEFORD – It’s not often that poetry heard around school functions this time of year doesn’t include the likes of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” or “Five Little Reindeer.”

Family and friends gathered in the Noble Central School gym on this occasion, however, were treated to poetry of a decidedly different nature.

The school hosted its second Poetry Slam, with students performing their original poems in front of a panel of judges. The subject matter was often of a very personal nature, and ranged from expectations, to stuttering and mental health.

Under the direction of slam master/teacher Desiree Lamb, student-poets were encouraged by schoolmates with applause and the snapping of fingers. Judges deemed stingy with their marks, meanwhile, were subject to good-natured jeering.

The brave judges included Lethbridge MP Rachel Harder and published poets Blaine Greenwood and Richard Stevenson.

Stevenson, a college English instructor, spoke to the students about the importance of poetry, and provided some advice. He cautioned them of being too critical of their work in progress.

“Sometimes this thing grabs a hold of you and takes you where it wants to go, not necessarily the other way around,” said Stevenson.

If the topics and delivery of poems are wide open, the rules of slam poetry are well defined. Poems can be no longer than three minutes in length, and no props or costumes are allowed. Half the judges’ marks are based on content and the remainder on performance.

The Poetry Slam featured five groups and 19 individuals. Abbey Dorchak and Kennedi O'Brien won the group competition, while Molly Baumann was tops in the individual category.

Students at Palliser’s early learning through Grade 12 school in Nobleford are the only ones south of Calgary competing in slam poetry. Noble Central is registered once again to compete in the provincial high school Slam, to be held in Calgary this April.