You walk onstage. Your palms are sweaty and your nerves are buzzing in anticipation. The spotlight shines in your eyes and prevents you from seeing the people in the audience. You feel like you might be sick, but then you open your mouth and it’s just you and your words and nothing else matters.
Avogadro’s Slam Poetry Night, titled “Slam-a-gadros”, provides an accepting environment where young artists are free to express themselves. This slam poetry venue is located at Avogadro’s Number on the last Sunday of every month at 7 p.m.
Chris Vanjonack has been a slam poet for five years and is one of the co-founders of Slam-a-gadros. After attending the Bean Cycle’s slam poetry event, he recognized the need for something geared towards all kinds of spoken word.
“We saw the need for more opportunities [to perform] and access to spoken word,” Vanjonack said. “So a few friends and I brainstormed for a couple nights and came up with this. It has developed it’s own community and vibe.”
Payton Rose, another Slam-a-gadros co-founder, served as the announcer for the evening’s event. He placed a strong emphasis creating a safe and protected space on the stage for all of the poets.
“This space is for poets to share their stories and feel validation for what they’ve written,” Rose said.
The most recent event included performances by nine poets of varying levels of experience.
One of the semifinalists, Savannah Overturf, or Savy, has been performing slam poetry for thirteen years. Overturf said she loves performing at Slam-a-gadros.
“I see my poetry more as a movement, to help people understand things.” Overturf stated. “Avogadro’s is full of love that’s inclusive. Everyone is sweet and wants to hear what you have to say.”
While her poetry typically focuses on larger issues and gaining understanding, poetry can be about anything. Tim Sanchez was the winner of the night, and has performed at Slam-a-gadros for one year. Sanchez takes a different angle with his poetry.
“Most of what I write has some sort of musical component.” Sanchez said. “I like to mess around with percussion and spoken word. My style of poetry is kind of absurdist. It’s a collection of random bits of life and it’s up for interpretation.”
Sanchez said he feels the Slam-a-gadros event and venue is a good outlet for poetic expression.
“I like seeing what others have to say.” Sanchez said. “The people here have very different lifestyles, and I see that this outlet has been really inspiring.”
Communication studies major Ricki Palmisano was the final performer for the first round. Even though Palmisano has some theater and technical theater experience, this was her first time performing slam poetry. Palmisano said she liked the atmosphere that Avogadro’s Number provided for the venue and felt very welcomed.
“I was nervous going last, but it ended up being better that way,” Palmisano said. “I like the venue. It was calming when I walked in. I’m a big fan of atoms, and there’s something with Star Trek at the entrance.”
This venue creates a welcoming and accepting atmosphere for anyone looking for an outlet to experience or perform poetry.
“For first time poets, I’d recommend writing down your feelings, just a quick poem,” Overturf said. “Try performing and see how you like it. Does it make you happy?”