Salem is probably the piece I am most proud of at the moment. Although it shows progress in my writing compared to the poems I was writing a year ago, it is also the first heavily feminist themed poem I have written so far, as well as the fact that I wrote this piece not only for myself, but for the strong and fearless women in my life.
I’m not entirely sure where the idea for Salem came into my mind however I just remember it being late one night and the thought hit me and I immediately hit pen to paper to write as fast as I could. The first draft of Salem is actually the poem that is recited (by myself should I add) and the end of Nazlie’s film Swing Wilder which I was lucky enough to be featured in, and as well have the title be a line from my poem. I knew that this was going to be a good poem because the moment I started writing I got excited. Immediately I took the draft to Emma for her to read, and she was quick to help me plot out the points and add some more direction to where I was going with the piece. From there, I wrote the first full three minute draft of that piece, and took it to the team.
Here is the feedback I received from the team after the meeting. This time we did it in a stars and wishes style.
- Connections between yourself, the witches, and the poem are very strong.
- Very passionate.
- Repetition of “your honor” is powerful, can be played with.
- “Catcalls….” awesome diction
- Cut the piece (overtime)
- Clarify the subject
- Ending needs to be refined
With the feedback given, I was able to take out a bunch of stanzas (it was almost hitting the four and a half minute mark), up the intensity in my piece, and swap in duller diction for words and lines that packed punches. The more I worked on this piece, the more excited I was to perform it. Once I had refined everything and worked on the feedback I was given, it was time to work on the performance aspect of Salem, which is just as important as the actual piece is. Working on Salem I learned that showing anger and intensity in your voice doesn’t always mean yelling. Sometimes, the quiet anger can be more intense than actual yelling. As well, this was the piece that I worked on with Emilee Nimetz, the wordplay poet that worked with team Cool, Calm, Neglected before hullabaloo. An important part of my performance she told me is that I need to break down a bit at some point in the poem. Amidst all this high intensity anger and determination, Emilee suggested that there be a point in my performance where I almost break down and almost beg the audience to hear me. As well, she pointed out that it may be a good idea to build up little spurts of fire she said, and build those up to one big burnout where I can get really angry and scream and yell. With the help of Emilee, I really took this poem to the next level, earning me a standing ovation at hullabaloo.