PSH Community Recites Poems During World Poetry Slam


Matthew Wynkoop

World Poetry Slam Event Flier

The Penn State Harrisburg International Students Programs hosted a community event where students recited poems in their native languages. This event was called World Poetry Slam and was held in the Gallery Lounge in the Olmsted Building. International students were the predominant student body at the event, and they were able to recite poems in their language that is fluent to them. To begin the event, a historical overview of poetry was presented in order to gain a better understanding of what goes into writing a poem. Famous poet Maya Angelou’s recital of her “Still I Rise” poem was also shown during the event to provide some inspiration. Projected on the screen was the English translation so that everyone could understand the meaning of each of the poems. The speaker then recited the poem in both English and their native language. The crowd was relatively small, but it was still a successful event, nonetheless. 

After the first three participants recited their chosen poems, there was a lunch break in the middle of the event. There was food available for the students and faculty members to enjoy. Also during this intermission, the participants partook in an activity where each of them contributed a line in a collaborative effort to create their own original poem. The first group took a traditional route and simply came up with a line for their poem. The second, however, took a different path and used the word “emotion” as an acrostic in order to create theirs. 

After the lunch break, the remaining participants recited their chosen poems. 

Dr. Charles Lord, Assistant Director of the International Students Programs, was one of the participants, reciting a poem in French. He spoke about what the goal of the event was. 

“I wanted as many people, hopefully domestic students, to hear people speaking their mother tongue, to hear the beauty of different languages,” Dr. Lord said. 

Dr. Lord also described why he believed it was important to host an event like this one. 

“So much of it is intonation, knowing context, knowing the actual melody of the language,” he added. “I think every language… is like a song, and you have to be able to sort of sing it, and native singers can sing that song.” 

As to whether any similar events will be held in the future, Dr. Lord said he believes “we will continue to do it.” He mentioned how better marketing could really help boost the event’s overall attendance. Students and faculty throughout campus should keep an eye out on the Corq app for specifics regarding any upcoming events similar to the World Poetry Slam and events hosted by the International Students Office.

World Poetry Slam Participants Watching a Video (Matthew Wynkoop)