KHS slam poetry club wins competition

Katie Woodruff, writer

K-Word, KHS’ slam poetry team, placed first at VerbQuake Grand Slam, a slam poetry competition at the Missouri History Museum, April 19. It was presented by UrbArts, the United Artists Alliance for Child Development, and the team had to make it through two prior rounds to compete in the final.

Brittane Curry, Maggie O’Brien, Anna Pruitt, freshmen, and Elise Saunders and Peter McCoy, sophomores, performed in the competition. The club started this past November while the team was formed in February.

“They are such a talented hardworking group…It’s my first year here as a teacher and I was hoping to get [slam poetry] off the ground. They are such a hardworking and passionate group,” Dominic Pioter, english teacher and club advisor, said.

K-Word performed four poems at VerbQuake, O’Brien performed a solo piece about synesthesia, the blending of senses or when one sense triggers another, Pruitt performed a piece about anorexia and all five members performed two group pieces.

“I was in a group piece, we called it ‘Girl Pockets’ and it was a rant about how small girl’s pockets are on their pants. I tied it into some common themes of feminism like how girls are always told to stop complaining,” Saunders said.

Besides the help of Pioter, the group was assigned a mentor through UrbArts, Freeman Word, a professional slam poet, to help them prepare for the competition.

“They are so supportive, whatever we want to write they’ll help us. Practicing is so great because they won’t give us ‘Oh yeah, that’s good, you’re good.’ They give us really important tips,” O’Brien said.

Curry was the only member of K-Word to perform in the Indie Slam, the individual poet bracket.

“I had sweat coming down my face, and I was really nervous but I won third place for Indies,” Curry said.

UrbArts wants Kirkwood to compete against other slam poetry teams, so K-Word might attend a competition in Texas this summer.

“They were impressed by us so much that they have asked us to compete outside of St. Louis,” Pioter said.