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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Winners named in campus Poetry Jam

Sky Young, left, and Robin Rhyand listen as Michael Guinn, right, announces he is Slam Master of Fort Worth and, therefore, relinquishing his first-place win in South Campus Poetry Slam to Young.  Photo by Julissa Treviño/The Collegian
Sky Young, left, and Robin Rhyand listen as Michael Guinn, right, announces he is Slam Master of Fort Worth and, therefore, relinquishing his first-place win in South Campus’ Poetry Slam to Young. Photo by Julissa Treviño/The Collegian

By Julissa Treviño/south news editor

Sky Young, left, and Robin Rhyand listen as Michael Guinn, right, announces he is Slam Master of Fort Worth and, therefore, relinquishing his first-place win in South Campus' Poetry Slam to Young.  Photo by Julissa Treviño/The Collegian
Sky Young, left, and Robin Rhyand listen as Michael Guinn, right, announces he is Slam Master of Fort Worth and, therefore, relinquishing his first-place win in South Campus’ Poetry Slam to Young. Photo by Julissa Treviño/The Collegian

After a surprise appearance from the Slam Master of Fort Worth, Sky Young, South Campus student, won first place in the third annual Poetry Slam/Jazz Jam on South Campus April 16.

Michael Guinn, originally the first place winner, handed his award to Young after announcing that he has been ranked seventh in the nation for slam poetry.

Lewis Dorcey won second place, and Leslie Pulk and Bernard Stiggers won third place for their combined performance.

The four winners received a monetary prize and recognition.

A full crowd and host Catherine Higdon, instructor of English, received the 36 poets with applause as they got on stage to perform in the Recital Hall of the Music Building.

The poets were divided into three groups of 12. Each group performed in a round, and three finalists were chosen from each round to compete in the “Slam Finals.”

Between rounds, the South Campus Jazz Band, led by Rick Stitzel, instructor of music, entertained the crowd while the judges tallied points to choose finalists.

While some students who signed up did not show up to perform, others in the audience fought to take their places in the competition.

The finalists of round one were Young, Dorcey and Haley Moss; the finalists of round two were Guinn, Robin McGee and Passion Riley; the finalists of round three were Pulk and Stiggers, Meagan Morris and Dorian Johnson. 

Many poems were humorous and witty while others were serious, focusing on religion, death, politics and personal experience.

Dorcey, a continuing education student on South Campus and a member of the jazz band, said it was the first time he performed his poetry in front of an audience.

“I saw it as a chance to express the love that I have [for poetry],” he said.

After the “Slam Finals,” a third poem was recited by Young and another by Guinn to break the tie for first place, as they had both received perfect scores for their poems in the finals.

After the tiebreaker, the judges, comprised of Evelyn Wilson, Nicole Vallee, Iris Johnson, Pauline Griffith and Cynthia Walters, all faculty in the South Campus English department, announced that first place went to Guinn, second place to Young and third place to Dorcey.

However, upon receiving his award, Guinn told the audience, “I just wanted to blend in, but there’s no way I’m going to take this money.”

Guinn had been a Child Protective Services investigator for six years and eventually began doing poetry to express what he had seen for so long.

Guinn, national Slam Master of Fort Worth, is ranked seventh in the nation for performing slam poetry.

“Catherine [Higdon] contacted me three years ago about the poetry slam, and this year, I finally did it,” he said. “I told her I didn’t want to win; I just wanted to participate.”

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