Keeping the spirit of poetry alive and thriving

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By Siti Khadeeja Iman

From being too structured and stuffy, poems are now recited as raw and realistic as can be, allowing poets to speak their truth without being held back.

Dating all the way back to the year 1984, the standard format of poetry recitals evolutionised into the art form that we call spoken word poetry which are commonly presented in poetry slams (a form of competition) that acts as a platform and opportunity for poets to grab a mic and speak their mind.

But just how many of these opportunities are presented to our society today? The art of spoken word isn’t a field that is widely ventured amongst Malaysians, and you could literally count the amount of people that are aware of this art form.

Nevertheless, it’s pretty safe to say that a golden opportunity rolled around with the announcement of the Malaysia National Poetry Slam 2022, organised by the Malaysian Institute of Debate and Public Speaking (MIDP).

From the left: Putri Nur Nadyne, Puteri Elena Damia, Miss Amalina (Advisor), Damia Qistina, Adeena Salimee and Siti Khadeeja Iman
Fundamentals of Spoken Word Poetry

The competition was split into two segments, the regional workshops and the national poetry slam. The workshop was held on Saturday, 5th November 2022 at Taylor’s College, Selangor.

The workshop consisted of three sessions in which the participants were introduced to the basics of spoken word poetry before showcasing their self-written poems during the mini slam.

The participants were split into two rooms, in which the top 3 poets from each room would proceed to the semi-finals to decide on the poets who would eventually represent the Klang Valley district in the national slam on the 27th of November.

Road to Nationals

The battle of the poets was rough, but in the end, Adeena Salimee and Siti Khadeeja Iman were able to secure a spot in the national round.

From then on, it was just a matter of writing and writing… and more writing.

Draft after draft of poems were written, crumpled paper scattered on the floor, creative juices running low and yet the only question floating about is “What if we can’t do this?”

But on the flip side, what if we could?

The Grand Slam

With the theme being “Unspoken Wilderness”, our school’s representatives rolled up to the competition in traditional kebaya and pario.

For the first two rounds, all poets from all districts performed the poems that they’ve prepared, with Adeena performing her pieces entitled “Shatter” and “Time Zones” and Khadeeja performing “When Someone Tells You You’re Pretty” and “Srikandi“.

They both made their way to the grand finals of the grand slam, with the stakes placed as high as they can possibly be.

To bring back all the marbles, Adeena performed her piece “Hands Up” and Khadeeja performed “Chrysanthemums“.

The judges discussed, deliberated and decided. And it was only a matter of time before the results were announced.

And your Grand Slam Champ is…

Taking second place… Siti Khadeeja Iman Binti Mohd Radzuan

And your Grand Champion is… Adeena Salimee Binti Ilhan Salimee

Words could not have expressed the emotions roaming around. An emotional rollercoaster ride has ended with a bang (or a slam).

Adeena and I both owe our success to our wonderful advisor, Miss Amalina alongside our friends, Nadyne, Elena and Mia, for the greatest piece of poetry ever written is encapsulated in our very own pursuit to keep the spirit of poetry alive like it has never ever been before.

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