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Poetry slams in San Marcos

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In a purple room at Wake the Dead Coffee House, an audience watches a slam poet perform.
Photo courtesy of Brent Green.

Students step into the spotlight with a modern form of poetry hitting the San Marcos art scene.

Modern Muse Poetry was formed in fall 2017 by Brent Green, creative writing graduate student, and Eliseo Ceja, public relations junior. Both coming from cities with large slam poetry scenes, they wanted to bring the creative expression to San Marcos through Texas State. Members of Modern Muse Poetry consist of all kinds of students, from English to science majors.

Ceja said he has been putting time into slam poetry for several years now, despite it not relating to his major.

“This is strictly a hobby, but I love what I get out of it,” Ceja said. “It’s good to bring different people together to learn and feed off each other.”

Slam poetry, also known as spoken word poetry, is a form of art with few boundaries except a time limit. It is a type of performance with no props or costumes, and gives the impression of storytelling through emotional interaction with the audience.

Every 1st, 3rd and 5th Sunday of the month at 6:30 p.m., Modern Muse teams up with Wake the Dead Coffee House to perform the poetic works of writers in the community.

This summer, Modern Muse Poetry will compete in the Southern Fried Poetry Slam, hosted in San Antonio. The competition is compiled of 32 teams from the Southeast United States. Green will be coaching the Texas State team.

“We wanted to create an organization where people could consistently express themselves with a community of writers to help them,” Green said. “We want to be able to represent Texas State in the national title one day.”

Teams are judged as a whole with a perfect score of 30. Judges are selected at random to prevent bias and critique performances based on the emotional reaction the poet elicits.

After Green held a competition at Wake the Dead in March, the top three poets were selected to be part of the team to represent San Marcos at Southern Fried. Since then, the team has been meeting for four hours up to twice a week, writing, editing and performing their poems together.

Cassie Hall, treasurer and interdisciplinary studies senior, has become passionate about spoken word poetry. She is looking at a master’s program that incorporates slam poetry as a method of teaching in the classroom.

“The (team) as a whole is hilarious; we’re all so different, yet we connect on such levels,” Hall said. “We’re a family already. Practices don’t really seem like practices when you’re with these kinds of people.”

The officers want to expand the organization to get the word out about slam poetry. They want to make themselves more known in the community by doing impromptu performances in the middle of campus or on the square.

Modern Muse plans to continue interacting with the community through slam poetry, providing an outlet for self-expression.

To stay up to date with Modern Muse Poetry, check out their twitter, Instagram and Facebook at modernmusetxst.

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