On March 29, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Spoken Word club competed in Louder Than A Bomb, an ongoing festival dedicated to slam-style poetry. Unfortunately, this year they had to compete through Zoom, an online video meeting platform, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They competed against six different schools, JP Taravella High School, Cooper City High School, Miami Edison High School, Boca High School, Fort Lauderdale High School and Ely High School.
Each of these schools had a group of students work together to write a piece of poetry that has been worked on for the past few months and recorded themselves performing it to send to judges. After this was completed, judges would score them live through Zoom.
The LTAB competition is usually conducted much like a poetry slam where the audience is very much vocal about the pieces being shared. Switching the competition to an online platform has stripped the participants of many experiences that come with competing.
“It was definitely different competing online, as opposed to a stage,” senior Anna Bayuk, president of the Spoken Word Club, said. “There wasn’t a live audience so it was definitely a less engaging feeling — normally the whole room is snapping along when you say a good line, and that was absent.”
Some contestants found that competing online created a new set of challenges that they would have to work to overcome.
“It was definitely a lot harder, our deadline was pushed back a few days so we had less time to work on it and trying to get the video right was a lot harder… I feel like I had to delete it over and over again to try to get the perfect one,” sophomore Mar Acquaroli said.
On Tuesday, April 7, the MSD Spoken Word Club placed third at the semi-final round of the competition. Unfortunately, this means that the team will not be proceeding to the finals which will be held over Zoom on April 18.
“Third place was okay,” Bayuk said. “When it comes down to it, we’ve got a saying in the spoken word poetry scene; the point is not the points, the point is the poetry.”