Department ofEnglish

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Bronco Slam&Jam

On April 19, the English Club and The Santa Clara Review hosted a poetry slam – The Bronco Slam&Jam. Riley O’Connell organized the event, and we asked her to share her thoughts about the night.


 Coming into Santa Clara this year, I was somewhat worried (for lack of a better term) that, at a Silicon-Valley based school that emphasizes engineering and business, I would struggle to find my niche as an English and Communication major. So I jumped at any artistic/writing opportunity — English club, Love Jones, The Santa Clara, The Santa Clara Review, et cetera. Alongside these activities, I also determined I would start up my own poetry slam — The Bronco Slam&Jam — as it didn’t appear that SCU had an event like that on campus. (I later was told that there hasn’t been a consistent poetry slam on campus for about a decade.) The idea of the Slam&Jam is first and foremost to get artistic/literary students together for a three-round poetry slam — an elimination-style competition scored and narrowed down on a 10-point scale by three judges until there is a champion. The winner was awarded an Ike’s gift certificate. After the competition, a handful of student musicians/singers perform in the Jam portion, which was followed by a general open mic.

By pure luck, about a week before the winter quarter slam, my friend and chief editor of The Santa Clara Review, Jake Lans, ran into the 2006 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, “Mighty” Mike McGee, in downtown San Jose, and asked him if he’d be interested in hosting the event. McGee enthusiastically agreed, and after seeing the high level of interest from students, he agreed to continue hosting the Slam&Jam for us.

This past Tuesday, April 19, we had six Slammers, four Jammers, and a handful of last-minute open mic-ers. Beau Scott ’19 won the Slam, beating out Mikey Hao ’18, myself, Jowy-Jhan Curameng ’16, Serena Chan ’16, and Shelley Valdez ’18. The poem that won him the competition was about his mom — the second piece he read about her, actually. Moms were a theme throughout the Slam, interestingly enough, as Jowy and I both also read pieces about mothers. During the open mic, we heard poems from two of the judges, a rap from Quintin Chambers ‘19, a spoken-word poem by Beau Scott, and a freestyle rap by Jowy, Quintin, Evan Paul ’16, and Buddy Lorentz ’16.

I couldn’t believe the popularity of the event, garnering nearly 90 attendees in the winter and roughly 70 in the spring. The English Department and the Santa Clara Review have both co-sponsored the event, and the Fine Arts Support Team (FAST) has supplied snacks and advertisement, as well, all of which I feel will help attract more participants and attendees in the future. On top of this, an SCU alumni that works at Studio Bongiorno, an art studio a few blocks from campus, has reached out to me about planning future poetry/music collaborations with the Studio! Having all the support from both inside and outside the SCU community is extremely encouraging, and I hope events like the Bronco Slam&Jam both grow and encourage the literary community on campus for future students, as it has for me.

Rhonda Teeny, winner of the first Bronco Slam & Jam, opened the April event