Battle of the bards

Poor Form Poetry, Middlebury’s resident spoken word performance group, proudly returned from going head-to-head and verse-to-verse with poetry slam groups across New England. Over J-term, the college’s team of eight students advanced to finals at the Second Annual Regional Poetry Slam at Yale and won fourth place overall.

Maya Goldberg-Safir slams at Yale

According to founding Poor Form member Anna Gallagher, “we were very happy with this result because we felt that our style separated us from the competition’s typical techniques.” She explains that Middlebury’s team “emphasizes writing” and sincere, simmering emotionality while refusing to write about “things we can’t relate to.” Instead, the team took on a quirky, bittersweet range of topics from “almost getting a tattoo” to losing a loved one.

Reflecting on the newfound popularity of performing poetry, Gallagher notes that “it creates a weird tension between art and attention-getting, and there is less appreciation for the subtlety of page poetry. However, slam creates an undeniable energy—a team dynamic that is fostered in the most competitive of varsity sports. It also creates an intimacy unlike any other.”

The team consisted of four performers, Gallagher, Maya Goldberg-Safir, Olivia Grugan Carolyn Orsoz, and Jessi Stevens, two alternates, Lara Shabb and Emily Wheeler, and coach, Cody Ghol.

Watch clips of previous Poor Form poetry slams on YouTube.