On Monday, March 11, slam poet Luke Wright presented his anthology of poems at the Bookworm. His poems reflected the great coffee shop energy and seemed apropos for the environment. He made a resounding impression when he divulged concepts of intimate and comical proportions through slam poetry, some with wit and others with an overwhelming sensitivity and vulnerability.
I was lucky enough to be a member of the audience. Wright’s ability to traverse genres made the audience feel sad, amused, and embarrassed all in the same hour. Wright initiated his stream of intertwining drama and comedy with Ballad of Fat Josh, and his action-packed B-movie: Barry vs. the Blob had the crowd roaring with laughter. Later we could only respond with silent contemplation when he delivered the Ballad of Barlow Burton, as he referred to a woman’s subjection to abuse. He had both the imagination of a teenager and the experiences of an adult.
His work did not only chime with the brilliance of rhymes and repetition, they had an incredible touch of honesty. A majority of what he spoke was of his experiences in England. In some poems this concept was clear depiction, for example, Jeremy who drew Penises on Everything. Others came with more of a twist of imagination such as B-movie: Barry Vs. the Blob. His experiences grew ripe in our minds and though most of us have never set foot on British soil, we left the Bookworm that morning with a taste of what England is like.
It was refreshing for all of us international students to witness the life of a man who lived domestically for his entire life and understand the contrast in our life’s journey. It was also refreshing to learn how a poet can weave together intriguing verses that reveal his personality and experiences but also the lessons that are learned from those experiences.
As great as his poems are, what really made them stick in our minds was how he presented them. The ability he had to recite his own poems with passion and charisma was the distinctive quality that defines him as a unique slam poet. His greatest asset is his ability to charm the audience: he presented his poetry with extravagance, making children and adults cry and laugh. Comedy is perhaps one of the most difficult fields for a performer but he hit all the right chords. He was bold and insightful and with the optimal combination of all his writing and performance skills, he made our visit memorable and inspiring.
Michelle Jong is a 16-year-old Year 12 student at Dulwich College Beijing and has been attending Dulwich since Year 4. From China and the US, she has been living in Beijing her entire life. Her favorite subjects are English, History and Economics.
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Photo by Michelle Jong