Poetic Victory

Katie Stromme, Head Copy Editor

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Told repeatedly by friends and family members that his spoken word poetry showed great promise, Southwest Minnesota State University junior Nick White received confirmation of his talents at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference in Chicago, Ill.
The first night of the conference, White participated in a poetry slam competition and was selected as the first-place winner after performing a trio of three-minute slams.
The second night, he was asked to judge the competition and also to perform another one of his pieces. This performance was taped by a woman from National Public Radio, and will likely air some time after June.
“To have a crowd full of strangers judge me and have me be the best, it made me feel like ‘I can keep doing this, I am in the right field,’” he said.
Although he had participated in slams in Minneapolis as well as Marshall, White’s experience at the AWP conference was still “kind of nerve-wracking.” The enthusiasm of receiving support and validation from slam poetry enthusiasts gave White “an overwhelming sense of pride.”
White hosts poetry slams at the Daily Grind in downtown Marshall every five to six weeks. He is passionate about bringing the culture of slam poetry to students at SMSU.
“That’s my biggest concern—that after I leave here it doesn’t die,” he said. “It’s a new voice in poetry for our generation.”
While taking classes that get him closer to earning his B.A. in creative writing with a minor in philosophy from SMSU, White says he receives crucial guidance and feedback from his professors that encourage him to keep writing.
“Judy Wilson, she’s been a pillar through this whole thing. She was the first professor I showed my slams to. She told me to keep doing it, and to be as raw as possible,” he said.