Roses are red / Violets are blue / There's a poetry slam / Friday in the M.U.
The Devil's Inkwell: Creative Writing Guild, which welcomes writers from diverse majors across the ASU campus, is holding its first ever Friday Night Poetry Slam on April 14 at 6:00 p.m. in the Cochise Room on the second floor of the Memorial Union.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, the free event will showcase the creative talents of ASU students, which reflects the Devil's Inkwell's greater mission.
"We noticed that ASU didn’t really have a creative writing club for students so we started up the Devil’s Inkwell for an organization for all the creative writers to come together, especially since the creative writing program at ASU is pretty exclusive," said club president and founding member Isabella Hutchinson, a sophomore studying software engineering and creative writing.
Angel Stephens, a club member and freshman studying conservation biology and ecology, added that ASU's creative writing guild "is basically just a way that we can come together and meet people who are interested in that sort of stuff … a lot of us are from STEM majors and we're not necessarily majoring in a sort of creative field like that, so it's a way for us to get involved with each other."
"What we wanted is an opportunity for the poets to get up on stage and get their voices out there," said Braden Walker, a club officer and senior studying creative writing, about the upcoming event.
The Friday Poetry Slam is The Devil's Inkwell's first major event bringing together creative writing enthusiasts from the club and the greater ASU community, and is a tradition that its members hope to continue annually. But what is slam poetry?
According to Stephens, slam poetry is "basically any type of poetry you do out loud as a performance … A lot of slam poetry is also created on the way you perform it itself." She added that slam poetry generates "a really fun atmosphere. It's people speaking their hearts out."
One of the poets speaking his heart out on Friday is Aditya Gheewala, a graduate student studying computer science.
"I started writing poetry in 2018. I never really planned to do that, it just happened, actually I believe it was like destiny … I got a crush on someone and then I started writing, and then I moved on to other topics as well," said Gheewala. By 2021 he had published a book of poems called "The Unprecedented Experiences."
Though Gheewala studies computer science, writing plays an essential role in his life.
"Poetry is kind of a therapy," he said. "Whenever I have some … negative thoughts I try to write it down and that helps. It’s an outlet for my emotions as I call it."
Gheewala sometimes performs his poetry at open mics, and though he is not a member of the Devil’s Inkwell, he was invited to perform at the slam through another ASU organization called City of Poets.
He, along with the other poets, will perform three poems for a panel and the audience.
"We have some invited judges from the ASU faculty, and we will be picking some random judges from the audience because that's traditional for poetry slams," said Hutchinson. "The poets will present their poems out loud … The judges will score the poets on a number of categories, and by the end of the night, the poet with the most points will win the slam."
More than competition, the slam is about community.
"I'm just excited to see what kinds of poets we bring. I know that ASU's a really wide range of people," said Stephens. "I love the diversity and with diversity you get different types of views, you get different opinions, and poetry is about that. Poetry is about feelings, it's about spreading that idea."
The Friday Night Poetry Slam still has three slots open for competing poets, as well as one slot open for a "sacrificial poet," which is a role given to a non-competing poet who will perform at the beginning of the night. Those interested in this position can email Hutchinson, she said.
For those interested in attending the slam, the event is free but an RSVP is recommended via Eventbrite. Complimentary soft drinks will be served.
Edited by Claire van Doren, Reagan Priest and Grace Copperthite.