Poets, MCs dish out rhymes

The lyrical event was organized and fully funded by Voices Merging.

by Kori Koch

Powerful poetic recitations sounded throughout The Whole at Coffman Union on Monday during a poetry slam and MC battle.

The third annual lyrical event was organized and fully funded by Voices Merging, a multicultural spoken-word student organization, and gave University students and local community members the opportunity to compete for cash prizes and get constructive feedback.

“We structured this year’s event differently and changed up our judging components,” said Anthony Galloway, president of the organization.

The poetry slam opened the event. Contestants were allowed five minutes each to try to impress a panel of three judges.

Those who participated were judged based on set criteria, including delivery, content, style, creativity and time.

“We wanted a diverse judging panel who knew and appreciated poetry,” said Mohammed Mohammed, an event coordinator and organization member.

Emerging into the second round of competition were six talented contestants, yet only three proved worthy of the final round.

Lense Solomon, a first-year University student, was eliminated after the first round. She said that she had been writing poems for five years and gathered inspiration by living independently from her parents in Africa.

“Everyone was very good. I was nervous and hoped to redeem myself,” Solomon said.

Michael “Q-T” Ludonese, a Minneapolis Community and Technical College student, also didn’t advance into the second round.

“It was cool to see all different styles of presentation,” Ludonese said.

First-, second- and third-place winners of the poetry slam were awarded descending cash prizes.

After the poetry slam, approximately 15 lyricists competed in an MC battle. They were given 30-second turns and judged under the same criteria as the poetry slam’s contestants.

Only the first-place winner of the MC battle was awarded $100. All prize amounts were sponsored by the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence.

Voices Merging advertised the event through its large listserv, word of mouth and numerous fliers, Mohammed said.

“We wanted to attract different kinds of people,” Mohammed said.

University sophomore Saunya Hudson attended the event and said she has been to several similar open-mic opportunities at The Whole.

“People came to compete from all over,” she said. “The content of each poem was really important. It’s about stuff people need to hear.”