Sophomore Places First At Poetry Slam Competition


Media by Jadynne Watts

Sarah Abbas, sophomore, placed first at a poetry slam competition. Abbas's win qualifies her for Brave New Voices, Missouri's slam poetry team.

Last week, Sarah Abbas, sophomore, placed first in individual finals for slam poetry allowing her to qualify for the Brave New Voices, Missouri’s slam poetry team.

“It was so surreal getting first and reaching my goal of making it on the Brave New Voices team,” Abbas said. “To qualify, you have to score in the top six, so it was really exciting.”

The slam team has meetings every Thursday with extra meetings right before competition to prepare.

While written poetry requires special formatting and later analysis for readers to find the true meaning, slam poetry requires more performance and clarity in the poems.

“Judges really look at how well written the poem is, the projection and the passion the poet has with their topic,” Abbas said.

As a Muslim Pakistani teen she has a lot of topics really personal to her that haven’t been heard before, and she incorporates Urdu to add her personal voice to the poems.

Ella Woods, sophomore, wrote a group poem with Abbas this past year and noticed the passion she had with each and every one of her poems.

“Not only does she perform really well and have well written poems, but she is so passionate about the poetry and all of the topics of her poems,” Woods said.

Abbas competed four poems: a group one with Woods about balancing being half American and half Pakistani and Iranian, two others about being Muslim, and one last one about her father.

“It was so inspiring to working with her,” Woods said. “She works so hard and clearly enjoys writing, performing, and competing.”

Shelly Justin, founder of poetry club, also was inspired by Abbas and proud of her win.

“She has a nice new, fresh voice that hasn’t been heard that much yet and really stands out,” Justin said. “Her different tactics allow her and her poems to stand out as really unique and different. She’s just got the whole package, and I am excited to see what else she can accomplish.”