Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Slam poetry contest captures politics, love, and more

April 13, 2017 by Adam Marsh, student editor

Legendary American poet Robert Frost once said that “a poem begins as a lump in the throat… a homesickness, a lovesickness.” Some of the contestants for this year’s slam-poetry competition Victorious Voices could definitely say that rings true for them. This year’s alumnus of honour Sam Ferraby writes any chance he gets, and doing so has kept him sane through many different colours and dimensions of life, he says.

“It really gave me such a positive outlet for a lot of things,” says Ferraby. “I’ve always enjoyed performing.”

Coupling creative writing and performance pieces together was a selling point for Ferraby, who has always enjoyed the spotlight of performing.

Sam Ferraby is this year’s Victorious Voices alumnus of honour (photo provided).

“The marriage of writing and performing within it in such a unique way is something that always really appealed to me,” he says. “It’s a great way to cathartically get feelings out, or just to come up with something that’s fun to say, fun to do.”

Ferraby started performing in Victorious Voices in Grade 10. After exceeding the age limit, he went on to coach the Glenlyon Norfolk School team, of which he’s also an alumnus.

“It’s been so wholly and all-encompassingly positive for me to do that on the side and have fun with it,” he says. “More than anything, it is really just so fun.”

The reading competitions are comprised of 10 to 12 teams of four poets, says Ferraby, with five rounds taking place to determine the winner.

“Each round has a poet go individually and then the final round is a team piece where any number of members come up and do a group piece as well,” he says.

Ferraby writes about topics ranging from “untraditional love poems” to Stephen Harper cutting arts funding.

“It was based around his quote in the Toronto Star that occurred right around that time [when arts-funding cuts were happening],” says Ferraby. “He said that ordinary people don’t care about arts, so I wrote a piece called ‘Ordinary People’ about why arts matter. It was a letter addressed to him.”

Ferraby’s work in the Victorious Voices events has paid off, as he earned himself the aforementioned alumnus of honour reward this year.

“I was taken aback a little bit because there have been so many phenomenal poets that have done their thing on that stage,” he says. “To be considered as a poet of honour is a really excellent experience for me to get up and show another generation of high-school poets what I’ve been doing and what this process can lead to.”

Victorious Voices
Tuesday, April 18 to Thursday, April 20
Various venues and prices

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