Wordsmiths holds annual poetry slam


Submitted by English Teacher Andrew Reise

Senior Ethan Brunke earns trophy for placing second in the annual Poetry Slam. Brunke presented two poems, “Campfire” and “A New Angel”.

Elyse Osterberg, Editor-in-Chief

The eighth annual Wordsmiths of Berlin Poetry Slam was held on Jan. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Berlin High School Auditorium. A Poetry Slam is a poetry performance competition where contestants present two original poems. English teacher Andrew Reise has been in charge of the event every year as well as being a guest poetry presenter. 

Though the Wordsmiths sponsor a number of different writing contests each year, this is our one live event. The purpose for the Poetry Slam is to offer local poets a welcoming public venue to have a voice, to showcase their poetic talents, and to receive positive recognition for their abilities,” Reise said. 

The judges are chosen from volunteers in the audience. Typically these volunteers are not experts on poetry. 

The judges are given score sheets to help guide them, but ultimately I instruct them to ask themselves ‘Did it sound like poetry?’ and ‘Did it have a message that made me think, feel, or react?’” Reise said. 

Earning first place this year was sophomore Andrew Rozek who received a trophy and a small medallion for his poems entitled “The supposed Health of a Pomegranate” and “Termites”. 

“We share two poems in poetry slam, and while I like to leave the meaning up to the listener’s interpretation, one was themed around pomegranates and the other around termites,” Rozek said.  

Senior Ethan Brunke entered the contest with his poems entitled “Campfire” and “A New Angel” which earned him runner up. 

Campfire was about summer nights with family outdoors and A New Angel was about grief and coping. Contrast in your two poems was encouraged,” Brunke said. 

Both Brunke and Rozek entered the Poetry slam to show off their work. 

“Not only is it satisfying to show your creative works to others, but you also get to hear wonderful poems from other talented people,” Brunke said. 

Rozek encourages those to enter the Poetry Slam and says it can be very therapeutic. 

“It’s a very good way to get your poetry out there. While it can seem scary, the crowd is often super small, but also very nice, allowing you a very good place to start in sharing your poetry,” Rozek said.