Spoken Word allows students to give voice to their hearts, minds

by Maria Siragusa, EDITOR
4 December 2017


Poetry possesses any number of connotations for its readers, whether confusing and complicated, or saturated with deeper meaning and having the power to tug at one’s heartstrings. Either way, a great deal of students see poetry as a creative way to reveal their most personal thoughts and feelings.

For the first year in school history, Spoken Word Poetry Club is up and running. This club encompasses students with a wide variety of backgrounds, and provides them with an environment for them the create and perform works of poetry.

As of right now, the club has about 11 members. It consists of mostly seniors with a variety of interests and backgrounds in poetry.

The club was started by a group of students who wanted a place to come together and share their love for poetry after the students experiencing multiple guest speakers and the Louder Than a Bomb poetry slam.

This event features a multitude of poets from schools all around the Chicagoland area coming together to share their works with one another. Spoken Word is gearing up to attend Louder Than a Bomb in February and are currently focusing their efforts on preparing pieces for this event.



Senior Destiny Johnson is one of the leaders in the group. Johnson is one of the only members who attended the Louder Than a Bomb  poetry competition last year, so she has some experience in the area.

According to Destiny, the club was needed at Oswego East and is an extremely important part of who she is.

“I am from Chicago, and in my old school, I was getting into a lot of fights. Poetry helped me resist my urge to fight. It allowed me to channel my emotions in a positive and fun way,” Johnson said.


“My anger gave me topics to write about which I think make my poetry very good. Instead of hitting people, I hit my paper with my pencil, and let all of my emotions out that way.”

— senior Destiny Johnson


Co-club sponsor Erin Sudberry said that writing is a great way for people to convey what they are feeling.

“The power that words hold and the way that people can manipulate words to create something entirely their own is beautiful,” Sudberry said.

Senior Cameron (Cammi) Casey newly developed a love for poetry after taking a creative writing course at OE. After doing a unit on poetry, she was able to find beauty in the words of others, and herself.

“I love how personal poetry is. How much you can get to know someone just from one of their poems. How expressive and how emotional it can be. Poetry can get so heavy, and I love that,” Casey said.

Johnson also added that because of her background, the poetry she creates tends to be very strong and possesses great meaning for her.

“My anger gave me topics to write about which I think make my poetry very good. Instead of hitting people, I hit my paper with my pencil, and let all of my emotions out that way,” Johnson said.

There are many other members in the club with very different backgrounds than Destiny who enjoy the club just as much.



Senior Aidan Mueller is one of the consistent members of the club. His love for poetry has been growing since childhood, and this club allows him to share ideas with his peers.

“I love the way that in this little community,  we can bounce these intimate ideas off of each other without any sort of judgement,” Mueller said.

Mueller also mentioned that after meeting others through this club, he realized how powerful poetry truly is. Joining the club opened his eyes to the significance of this art in the lives of those surrounding him, when he hadn’t given much thought to the topic beforehand.

“This club and poetry in general has made me realize the talent and passion that people can have for many obscure activities. I didn’t realize how passionate so many people were about different topics, and it made me want to try these things,” Mueller said.

Mueller and Johnson can agree that the sense of openness and joy that can be found within the club and its members is unlike any other. Diverse students being brought together by their shared love of poetry has made the bond the group has extremely tight.

“I love the little family that we are creating through our love for poetry. I also love the diversity of everyone in the club, and the way that people are able to feel at home and welcomed when we come together,” Johnson said.

Members are currently preparing for another Louder Than a Bomb poetry festival, which will take place in February. They are looking forward to developing as poets, and continuing to share their love for this art.

As more people learn about this new opportunity at Oswego East, the group anticipates that more students will want to share their love for poetry with their peers. Spoken Word Poetry Club looks forward to what the year holds for them, and how their writing and individuality can flourish together.

“I hope that everyone in our group gathers a sense of belonging and peace and are able to grow as poets and individuals. Hopefully the club will continue to grow so that the positivity and power of poetry can be shared with more people,” Johnson said.

Spoken Word meets every other Tuesday in J221, English teacher Erin Sudberry’s room.


For more, read:

“Battle Me” by Destiny Johnson

“Once Again” by Destiny Johnson

“A Perfect World” by Cammi Casey


Leave a Reply