13 years ago
Melissa Leach

The Fuzion Slam competitive poetry competition made its debut in the warm environment of the new local Fuzion drink café east of campus on Campbell Road Jan. 30.

From the outside, the place looked busy and the event seemed promising.

The contest attracted about 20 amateur area poets as well as some more experienced talent.

The poetry slam itself consisted of three house poets and a panel of three judges awarding points in a manner akin to Olympic diving scores.

Joss Sheridan, Jess Morales and Janar Stewart worked with the host as regular poets and plan to read at subsequent Fuzion Slams in order to encourage other poets.

The triumvirate reads with clarity and sincerity that makes their readings enjoyable to listen to but seemed bland compared to more professional talent I have seen.

I must admit that when I first walked in, I did not expect much from the poets and performances. However, as the contest started, I was pleasantly surprised. With warm and enthusiastic cheers from the crowd of about 25, the poets read their selections on stage and were scored by the judges.

To their credit, the majority of the contestants all performed original poetry. Although a few stumbled over words and paused in inconvenient places, the overall quality was more than decent. They performed with honesty and lightness that made listening pleasant. They read with confidence, sincerity and a touch of wry humor.

For the majority of readings, the poets stuck to light-hearted poetry with subjects ranging from the love of waffles to one’s frantic thoughts while stuck in a grocery store. These were definitely conducive to an audience sinking comfortably into cushy sofas while sipping their various hot beverages. The few dark poems of the evening were uncomfortably violent in nature and jarred the general mood.

The highest scoring poets read again for the second round from which winners received cash prizes of $25, $15 or $10. All the poets chosen to go onto the next round were deserving of the classification and clearly expressed their emotions connected with their poetry without being overly melodramatic.

The true treat of the evening was Joaquin Zihuatanejo, winner of the top prize. He added an extra touch of pizzazz and a definite rhythm to his poetry that made it electrifying. No stranger to the world of competitive poetry, his fluid and energetic delivery had every eye glued on him. His poem about random thoughts that occur while being stuck in a supermarket during a blackout were truly hilarious and had the entire audience laughing openly.

The supportive audience added warmth and energy to the atmosphere with their enthusiasm for the art that made the contest the perfect place for any amateur poet to start performing their work.

Overall, Fuzion Slam’s debut was an easygoing and highly enjoyable event. Its weekly presence in our area is an excellent addition to UTD nightlife.