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Contents

The Sun
Never Sets on
the English
(Department)

The Many Faces
of Western
North Carolina

The Mystery
of Rick Boyer


Just Do It!

Student
Publications:
Just the
Beginning

How to Get
WIRED

English on the
Fast Track


Telling (True)
Stories

Technically
Speaking

Change of Heart
Leads to New
Career

The World
Awaits...


Writers Bring
"Different"
Experience

Slam Your
Head

English Freaks
and Geeks

Outside the
Classroom


Staff

Sponsors

Advertisers

Slam Your Head
by Lea Menser
 
Poetry Slam Laughter and conversation sputter out. The spotlight above the first contestant outlines his body and highlights his face. And as he finishes his poem, audience members scream, hiss, and applaud, holding up scorecards and sipping cappucinos.

Western Carolina University holds a number of poetry slams each year. Not your typical poetry reading, a slam takes its judges from the audience, not the anthologies. If you’re a poet and want to read your work aloud, or if you don’t know anything about poetry, or if you just like a great time, try a slam.

English Professors Terry Nienhuis and Newton Smith, who emcee the slams, say they enjoy the change in pace. “I like to ham it up,” Smith laughs demonically. Nienhuis, a working actor and popular instructor, is a natural as game-show host


A slam takes its judges from the audience, not the anthologies.
“I thought it was great!” raved junior Chad Disharoon at a recent slam. “I thought poetry only lived in the classroom. Here, we make the rules—and we get really raucous.”

If you’re feeling brave, sign up (you can always chicken out). A student panel, chosen at random, judges the poems on a one-to-ten scale, and high-scoring poets win fabulous prizes. “I’d like to thank the academy,” began last year’s winner, clutching her prize, a brand-new papier mache alien. “I feel like a real author!”

She bowed and smiled as clouds of popcorn rained around her.