As a way to present members of the UW community an opportunity to share and celebrate their unique experiences and quirks, Waterloo Undergraduate Student Association’s Women’s Centre organised ME!, a poetry slam where students could come share their personal stories in verse.
The Women’s Centre is an entirely student run intersectional feminist service which “aims to provide a female-positive and supportive environment on campus for all women and trans folks.”
For ME!, the Student Life Centre’s Black and Gold room was setup to create an environment fit for a poetry meet. One lone mic faced the audience allowing the performers to not only share their words but also use their entire bodies to give their performance. The lights were dimmed and and everyone’s focus was on the performer.
The night began with a performance by Tanmayi Jandhyala, who recited a Harry Potter inspired poem that she had written, “The thing about the stars” while her friend and roommate, Shreya played chords on the guitar to accompany her. The poem was written from the perspective of the character, Remus Lupin when he was a young teenager at school and was developing his understanding of love and friendship.
Jandhyala’s performance was followed by Jessica Smith and Emaa Schuster who performed their self-written poems, “Keep going” and “Hands” respectively.
The final planned performance of the night was by Kelsey Mar who performed two of her poems, “Home invasion” and “Yesterday you forgot to remember.” Mar shared that the first poem was about a personal experience of hers from when she was a child. One of the heavier pieces of the night, the poem transported the audience to a young Mar’s world.
Mar’s second piece was one which encouraged the audience to think about childhood and adulthood and what changed in between, asking them, ”Did you forget at 21 what it was like to dream at 12?”
All four performers were able to enthrall the audience who responded to every performance with resounding rounds of applause.
After all four poets had shared their work, Women’s Centre’s literature director, Sudiksha Desai invited interested members of the audience to perform. Some students used this as an opportunity to express themselves musically and share some of their favourite songs with those present. A pair of students performed Anuv Jain’s hindi song “Riha” followed by a performance of Laufey’s “Street by street.”
Women’s Centre used this event as an opportunity to promote Voices, their annual anthology magazine of student work. Voices has been a Women’s Centre publication since 1995 and has been a space for students to share their different artistic expressions and experiences. Their official website describes the publication as “a space where students could voice their beliefs, share their hearts, as well as a corner of celebration and mourning.”
Women’s Centre is currently accepting poetry, artwork, photography, short stories and other creative submissions for Voices 2023. Submissions are expected to be open till the middle of Winter 2023 term. Interested students can submit their work by emailing the Women’s Centre literature director at firstname.lastname@example.org.