“Donald J. Trump ... Yeah, that’s right,” says Victoria Wojciechowska, nodding her head. “In the land of God and guns, you were a legend. That land is a myth. And while you’re so fond of generalizing, America is more than a cross-stitch of western extremisms ...”
Trump and the news media provided ample fodder for a poetry slam presented by Hamilton Youth Poets on Feb. 10 at Bishop Ryan Catholic Secondary School.
Wojciechowska, one of five poets who took part in the display, pulls no punches when it comes to the media, referencing the Huffington Post’s decision to place Trump's campaign news in the entertainment section of its website.
“Trump is entertaining the way Frankenstein is entertaining: terrifying and a product of our own imagination. American politics is the best episode of Goosebumps in circulation,” Wojciechowska proclaims in her solo performance.
Later, Wojciechowska chides the media for writing off Trump in the early days of his campaign.
“If all your words do is take you to higher moral grounds so you can watch the world burn, I hope you run out before hitting your word count instead of running your mouth. Writing off Donald Trump as a joke is writing yourself a new story.”
Wojciechowska later compares Trump’s rise to power to that of North Korea’s Kim Jong-il and Russia’s Vladimir Putin, before offering her own version of recent world events.
“And I know it’s not surprising; we’ve seen it happen before, Barack Obama, first black president, Hillary Clinton, first female president, Donald J. Trump, first self-aware product on the shelf.”
In her solo performance, Lex Leosis envisions a room full of young girls dreaming about the future.
“How do you tell them they’re not the right gender to be president?”
Later, in a collaborative performance, four poets stage a mock TV newscast dominated by the latest Trump updates, before focusing attention on breaking news of a shooting by an Islamic terrorist. The attack is then revealed as the act of a Canadian citizen.
Chukky Ibe, who hosted the Feb. 10 event, said slam poetry borrows the basketball term of a slam dunk.
“Slam poetry is like a basketball game, but instead of scoring with points, you score with your poems,” he said. “We encourage people to articulate themselves to the best of their abilities.”
The Feb. 10 slam poetry display invited guests judges from four Catholic secondary schools to grade the performances.
The Feb. 10 demonstration was designed to give students an introduction to Hamilton Youth Poets, an outfit that strives to engage Hamilton youth in the act of telling their own stories through spoken word, verse, multimedia, poetry slam, and new age journalism.
Since 2012, Hamilton Youth Poets has participated in the Louder Than A Bomb Canada Youth Poetry Festival, which runs this year from May 5-20. This year’s festival features over 130 youth competitors and more than 10 teams from local high schools.
The grand finals will be held May 20 at Theatre Aquarius.
See hamiltonyouthpoets.org for more details.