By Mitchell Mylius
The café at Las Positas was filled with the sounds of snapping fingers May 9 as 16 poets competed for cash and props in the Poetry Club’s annual Poetry Slam.
The audience doesn’t applaud when a poem is good. Instead they snap.
Slam veteran and poetry club member Sean Carino had an arsenal of poems to choose from. In the final round he performed a poem about a sexual experience. His performance was followed by a sea of snaps.
While the majority of the previous slams at the college have been for fun, this one was different. Money was up for grabs.
However, cash isn’t what drove Carino to compete.
“Money and recognition are nice,” said Carino, who took first place. “I feel like good poets stand out on their own regardless of competition.”
This is the club’s 13th competition slam in conjunction with Starry Plough Pub, an Irish pub in Berkeley that has been hosting poetry slams every Wednesday since 1999. The pub supplied several poetic anthologies for the top five poets along with cash prizes for the podium finishers.
“Slams are all about engaging the audience,” said Casey Gardener, scorekeeper from the Starry Plough Pub.
It wasn’t all veterans steeping up to the mic at the slam, with newcomer Desiry Jade Pena Buan competing for the first time at LPC.
After a third-place finish Buan thanked Carino for helping her find her passion in poetry.
Along with Carino’s first place finish and Buan’s third, Joshua Merchant placed second, a woman who identified herself only as Hali took fourth and Andrew Europa placed fifth.
The Poetry Club hopes to do slams like this once a month in the coming school year.