On Oct. 13, the Office of LQBTQIA Education and Engagement hosted Texas Tech’s fifth annual Pride Week Poetry Slam. The event was held in the Student Union Building Ballroom and guests were able to drink mocktails, candy, chips and dip.
Regie Cabico, a Filipino-American poet and spoken word artist, was the emcee for the poetry slam and performed original poems throughout the night.
“I started to write poems in 1993, so that would be 28 years of actively writing poems,” Cabico said. “To be able to share your soul through poetry and through this competition is so fun.”
Contestants wrote up two original poems and performed them within two rounds of competition. After the two rounds, they picked a topic from a cup and had 10 minutes to write a poem to perform in the final round.
Domonique Murphy, a fourth-year history and political science major from McKinney, wrote two poems titled “Former Vice President ' and “What’s in a Name."
“My first poem is going to be about compulsory heterosexuality," Murphy said. "When you're a woman, a lot of times people are telling them to make kids and topics relating to that. Then my second story is talking about my boyfriend and what's in a name, basically, and how he talks about my name.”
Murphy said she’s very protective of her full name as most people that know her, call her by her nickname. Her boyfriend is one of the very few to call Murphy by her real name.
Murphy said she was excited to hear the other poets perform their work as she was very close to them.
“This is probably my fourth or fifth time competing in a poetry slam here at Texas Tech, but it felt great to be in the energy of Domonique and Maky this whole time and really just be able to tell our story I felt really heard being here tonight,” said Gil Caley, a senior electrical engineering major from Watguga, TX.
Caley won the overall poetry slam and received gift cards to a different of restaurants.
The hardest part about poetry is taking the first step and putting pen to paper, Caley said.
“Once my pen was already flowing, you know that that energy that creativity started happening and it just all kind of came together all at once, and you know I did a little bit of editing beforehand and just trying to get the feeling right,” Caley said, “ Writing that quick poem was hard and getting just random words, trying to find a way to connect with it somehow but luckily, I was able to pull from like old poems that I've written in the past and kind of re integrate them into my new work.”
Caley said he hoped that the audience was able to get a glimpse into a life that may be different from theirs, or if they're in the same identity space as the performers, that they were able to connect with something that was said and hold onto it.
Jody Randall, director of the Office of LGBTQIA Engagement and Education, was the orchestrator for the whole event. She said slam poetry allows students to come together and share their experiences and express their identity.
“Pride Week raises the awareness of the LGBTQIA community and gives us a chance to celebrate the progress that we've made as a community,” Randall said, “ With this year coming out of a pandemic, we weren't really sure how this would go over, but it's turned out to be a really great event, it seems like the students are enjoying it.”
Each seat had coloring pages of people that played roles in the LGBTQIA community that shared information on those people and what they spoke out for.
“I've been to the poetry slam twice before and i loved it each time,” said Marissa Ellzey, a junior studio art major from Round Rock, “ I hope these events encourages people to not be afraid to be themselves, here in Lubbock and know that there are other people out there that share their experiences and to try something new.”