Central Poetry Slam winners 2018


Photo By Natalie Gallegos

Mi-Ling Wong performing her poem at Central’s Poetry Slam.

Natalie Gallegos, Staff Writer

This year’s Central Poetry Slam, a three day poetry competition held in the Central East library, drew multiple participants and an enthusiastic audience. Student poets competed in two categories, writing and presentation and were scored by a panel of faculty judges. Freshman Mi-Ling Wong won first place in the writing portion of the contest, and junior Jaylen Nichols Jr. won first for best presentation.

Mi-Ling Wong, one of the youngest slam participants, impressed the judges with her poem “The Mind of a Lost One”. Wong explained that, at first she had reservations about participating because she had never written a poem before, let alone shared her innermost thoughts in front of an audience. She eventually overcame her reluctance, submitted her poem and was excited to find she had moved on to the next round. After performing her poem and winning 1st place in written Mi-Ling was glad she’d decided to participate. She says the poem’s subject matter came from her own life experience. Mi-Ling explains, “A loss in my life, a heartbreak I guess, inspired me to write this poem, and these words are things that I would say to the person I wrote about.”

Jalen Nichols Jr. garnered first place in the presentation category for a reading of his poem “Equal”. He says he was inspired to write poetry by his grandfather who was known for telling outrageous stories. Nichols explains, “I always wanted to write about them in a book, but a book would have been too long. That’s when I turned to poetry and it’s stuck with me ever since.” He also wanted to show the more positive side of poetry as most people often perceive poetry as a gloomy form of writing when it doesn’t have to be. “Everybody seems to capture the sad side of poetry. I know it’s a really big component of our experience, and it effects our generation a lot, but there’s more to life than depression, depression, depression. You have to see the happy side of things too, the uplifting part of what makes you better as a person.”

See librarian Christine Flores at East if you are interested in participating next year and click below to read the winning poems.