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Fourth Annual Poetry Slam to be Hosted by University Libraries

In celebration of National Library Week and National Poetry Month, the Old Dominion University Libraries will host its 4th annual Poetry Slam from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 14 in the Learning Commons @ Perry Library. The event is free and open to all Old Dominion faculty, staff and students.

In the Poetry Slam, participants will present original poetry to a live audience and will be judged by a panel chosen from the audience. In three rounds of judging, participants will be assessed on the quality of the poetry and its presentation. Participating poets who receive the highest scores from the judges will win prizes.

Remica Bingham-Risher, a poet and director of writing and faculty development at Old Dominion, said the event is aimed at undergraduate English and master of fine arts students.

"This event highlights the performance aspects," said Bingham-Risher, who notes that poems traditionally were sung or read to a listening audience. The competitive nature recognizes "those who can move the most people."

The ODU Libraries and MFA students are collaborating to organize the event. Last year's emcee, Robbie Ciara, an MFA student in the College of Arts & Letters, said the event generates excitement within the University's literary community.

For creative writing classes at the end of the semester, "it provides a great source of entertainment and a break from the finals preparation," Ciara said. "I have had many aspiring poets contact me after the slam to express their enthusiasm for participating next year. A few first-time on-the-mic poets have been very grateful that they had the opportunity to share their work and have appreciated the support the slam brings."

But participation, he said, isn't limited to those students. Walk-ins are welcome.

The only requirement is that participants have three poems to present. Non-poets are encouraged to come and cheer for those in the competition. A lively audience improves the event, and can influence the outcome of the competition.

The Poetry Slam is just one in a series of events being held at the University to celebrate National Library Week (April 11 to 15).

To sign up or for more information, contact Lucinda Rush at lrush@odu.edu.

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