GUST’s English Department held its first Poetry Slam event- and it was a huge success. I was invited to be one of the Judges, alongside Nada Faris, an established writer, poet, and a friend of mine. The event was very well organized and there was great effort behind it, a colleague of mine, someone who has supported me endlessly, Ms. Ann Newman, was the head organizer of the event. She managed to put together a great team of slam poets, supporting their creativity and providing a venue for expressing poetry, ideas, and mainly, expressing voices that are sometimes muted.
My main concern was that although these poets were excited and very brave, they still struggled to speak up. I have read somewhere, I don’t recall which critic said this, but I think it was a Feminist critic (might be Cixous or Irigary) who insisted that we should listen to women speak. When women speak, they tremble. Why? Because society has silenced them for too long. I understand all of this all too well. As an undergraduate student, I always lost marks on participation grades. I was too shy, too intimdated by the entire classroom, and hated attention. Sometimes, I had so much to say, but couldn’t build up the courage to voice my opinion. Years later, I was able to slowly get over this fear. I can’t say I am an all-star speaker, but I can say, that at least it’s no longer terrifying to speak!
I loved the initiative, and I hope we can establish more forums, more venues to speak up, and as we go along, develop a stronger female voice, a collective voice that both speaks and listens to the other.