A review of Inspired Word Café’s first poetry slam of 2018

The night begins with The Kinfolk, a trio of UBCO students, walking up the aisle of the dark ballroom, the only sound being their voices. They walk onstage, and while continuing their song, welcome all of us present to the Battle on the Hill, held, we are reminded, on traditional Syilx territory. The dark lights and spotlights cast their shadows on the wall behind them, and we are encouraged to clap along to their song, the noise growing louder and louder. The Battle has begun.

Theatrics aside, the Battle on the Hill is an annual poetry slam run by Inspired Word Café, a community of poets, painters, and other artists in Kelowna, and consisting of poets from both UBCO and the community competing for first prize. Each poet is invited to come up and share a slam poem of their choice, with judges sprinkled in the audience giving 1-10 judgements. The winners of each round move on to the next until there are two poets left. The result is a night filled with artistry, nerves, applause and occasionally standing ovations, yelling, shock, sharing, and beauty.

Overall, the slam was incredible. Each poet brought powerful, moving, sometimes funny, and well-written poems to the stage. Artists shared quips about little cousins, anger over recent political statements (ahem, Trump and his “shithole” countries comment), and personal feelings, bringing everyone attending together almost as a community. Stars of the night were plenty; from the older gentleman from the community sharing a poem about finding out who you truly are, to Dia, the soulful member of the Kinfolk who has an aura of unprecedented beauty surrounding her. From women who shared touching poems about motherhood, anxiety, and disability, to men who shared feminist poems, and political anthems. There were poems about menstruation, catcalling, love, and sex(uality). Poems about TV shows, summer, death, and UBCO. And, there was a winner; UBCO’s very own Patience Spinoza, currently a member of the SUO.

At $15 a ticket, the event is well worth it. Not only is it a chance to see UBCO and the community come together, but it is a fun night to dress up, put on your lipstick or nice shoes, and go out. Grab a brownie, a glass of wine, and watch local artists do their thing. It’s also an effective way to get involved with your community; maybe you could be the next poet on that stage.

If you missed this slam, and are interested in the next one, check out Inspired Word Café on Facebook, where they will be posting about all upcoming events. Hope to see you there!!