Monthly Archives: October 2015


Check out the winners of our #6Wurd story contest! We loved reading all of your entries and we can’t wait to see what great content you produce for contests in the future! 

10.  Experienced Barricade Architect: Seeking Demolition Expert. #6Wurd

9. “Buck Tooph never smiled at strangers.” #6Wurd

8. “Please!” She wept. “Honey…it’s done.” #6Wurd

7.  Having lots to say: Not speaking #cursed #6wurd

6. “Sorry, an open casket isn’t feasible.” #6Wurd

5. “Do all newlyweds fight like this?” #6Wurd

4. “Retired teacher seeks reemployment. Spouse ill.” #6Wurd

3. Don’t bother–blood doesn’t scrub out. #sixwurd

2.  Balloon allergy. If touched, I’ll pop. #6wurd

1. “I’m broken.” “I brought my tools.” #6wurd

4 Misconceptions about Slam Poetry (and what it actually is)

By: Madelyn Taylor

Like most artistic movements, it’s hard to determine an exact source of Slam Poetry. To some point Marc Smith, who, inspired by experimental poets like Allen Ginsberg, began searching for a way to breath life into the open mics in Chicago. By focusing on the performance aspect of poetry, Marc started a poetry reading series at a Chicago jazz club, and eventually, like the true american event it was, the readings became competitive. In 1990, the very first National Poetry slam started a tradition that still runs today.


But what is a Poetry Slam?


Well it’s not…


  1. Poetry recitation

Maybe you had to recite poetry for English. Maybe your school held a poetry recital. Whatever the reason, everyone is familiar with the stiff silence and polite applause that accompanies a poetry recital. But nothing could be further from the truth when it comes to a Slam. Not only are poets required to bring original work (no Robert Frost here!), but poems are meant to be performed. The poet is always looking to elicit laughter, cheers, tears, reaction from the listeners, making poems just as fun for the performers as for the audience. It is not uncommon, and is highly encouraged, for a Poetry Slam audience show their appreciation of a poem through clapping, stomping, yelling, and yes, snapping.


  1. Beatnik

If the words “Spoken Word Poetry” conjures up images of black turtlenecks, bongo drums, and that one cafe scene from “An Extremely Goofy Movie”, you may be thinking of a different event. Although performance poetry may have originally been inspired by the beatnik movement, a modern poetry slam is far from the beret wearing events of yesteryear. Slam poetry is meant to be understood.


  1. Rap Battle

This is another case of influence. From early in it’s life, hip hop has been an active contributor to the slam poetry culture (did you know Kanye’s “Gold Digger” was first performed at a slam?), especially among young poets. Both rap and slam poetry rely heavily on rhythm and flow, and both have informal formats which tackle complex issues. A Slam should not be confused with a rap battle, though. In a slam there are at very least 5 poets (sometimes upward of 30), and instead of bouncing off each other for improvised performances, the majority of poems are prepared in advance.


  1. Poetry Geeks Only!!

One of the greatest things about slam poetry is its appeal to people from all walks of life — not just English geeks! If you’re worried you wouldn’t fit in because you don’t particularly love Shakespeare, or you’ve never read Leaves of Grass, never fear! Spoken Word is about sharing your stories, and if everyone had the same experiences, the platform would be useless. So don’t be afraid to dive right it, poetry geek or no, into one of the most honest forms of expression out there.

What Slam Poetry is, is performance poetry. And while a poetry slam may have a specific format, slam poetry itself is anything you want it to be – whether that means rap, soliloquy, or breaking out the iambic pentameter, it’s up to you. However complicated it may seem, slam poetry is primarily about creating a platform for you to say things fully in the best way you know how. It’s about telling your story. And it’s a ton of fun.

Come check out the poetry slam being hosted by the BYU English Society on October 15th from 6-8pm at The Wall! Hope  to see you there!

My Story Podcast Episode 006

BYU English alumna Rachel Rueckert describes her experiences with doing field studies to Ghana and India, Teach for America, traveling around the world for a year-long travel-writing honeymoon, and working for Harvard’s MOOC platform.

Join us at The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

On October 24th, BYU’s English Society will be attending a performance of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow at the Covey Center Theatre at 7:30pm.



If you are like me, the only thing that comes to mind when you hear The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a vague memory from an old Disney film with a super skinny white guy and a scary headless horseman. Since details of the plot had long since faded from my memory, I did a little internet research to figure out what this story is all about.



The Legend of Sleepy Hollow began as a book written by Washington Irving. Interestingly enough, it is “among the earliest examples of American fiction with enduring popularity,” or so says Wikipedia. The protagonist is one Ichabod Crane, a spindly schoolmaster from New England set on obtaining the heart of Miss Katrina Van Tassel, the only child of a wealthy local farmer. Ichabod must compete with Abraham “Brom Bones” Van Brunt, the town hero and muscle man for Katrina’s affection.


The Van Tassel family throws a harvest party which both male suitors attend. Bones spends the party telling frightening local legends (particularly one about a headless horseman) while Ichabod tries and fails to secure Katrina’s hand in marriage.


On his ride home, Ichabod start hearing spooky sounds and encounters a silent stranger at a crossroads in the woods. After traveling a ways Ichabod notices to his horror that the stranger’s severed head is on his saddle. Ichabod tries to outrun the horseman in a mad dash through the woods and over a bridge. He recalls the legend he heard earlier claimed that the specter would disappear after crossing water, but when he reaches the other side the headless horseman follows right on his tail and hurls his head straight at Ichabod’s horrified face.



The next day, Ichabod is nowhere to be found. The only things that remain are a wandering horse, a trampled saddle, a discarded hat, and a mysterious shattered pumpkin. Brom Bones marries Katrina and it is said that whenever the story of Ichabod’s disappearance is mentioned he gets a knowing look in his eye.



Though maybe not very gruesome by our modern standards, this tale has haunted people since the early days of this country and continues to be a trademark of the Halloween season. Come out and enjoy this spooky performance of this classic story with BYU’s English Society!