Poetry Slam Advances to Semifinals

By Mara Shapiro

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Tribe Called West at Semfinals. Photo by Athena Hilentzaris.

The Niles West Poetry Slam team, Tribe Called West, advanced to the Semifinal competiton and came away with fourth place  at Victory Gardens Theatre on Monday, March 5 .

The team won first place in their first bout Friday, Feb. 24 at Columbia College and won second place at their second bout Saturday, March 3 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Tribe Called West competed against three other schools March 5: Inverse Poetry Team, Kenwood Academy, and Kumba Lynx, with first place going to Inverse.

English teacher and coach, Paul Bellwoar, feels that the team came away with more knowledge than they had prior to the competition.

“[We came away with]a sublime appreciation of the absurdity of competition, a dedication to supporting each other through the trials of writing, performing,  memorizing, and countless hours of rehearsing, and a sense of ourselves as part of a tribe of writers that extends from the past to the present and  into the future,” Bellwoar says.

Junior Cody Inglesby feels that participating in the Semifinal competition was inspiring.

“The environment was pretty insane compared to prelims. We had to step up our game. Upon walking in, there was a higher quality to poetry,” Inglesby says.

Junior Mike Gonzales  is proud of the team’s accomplishments even though they did not win first place.

“We realized that it doesn’t matter what the scores are because we entertain people,” Gonzales says.

The team is comprised of juniors Athena Hilentzaris, Cody Inglesby, Mike Gonzales, and Fil Sguros, and seniors Sally Nahhas and Sam Chao.

“We laughed a lot, wrote good poems that I am proud to have been a part of, and developed a sense of tribal unity that will last far beyond the months that we practiced,” Bellwoar says.

On April 5 the team will be performing at Reading Hour and later in April will attend  the school-wide poetry showcase.