On the 22nd of August we had an amazing workshop with two of the leading slam poets of Delhi, Ms. Shibani Das and Ms. Aastha Singh. Both Ms. Shibani and Ms. Aastha are young women who have fallen in love with words and the art of poetry and had come to show us how beautiful this art is. These artists are amazing writers and even better speakers. However, I noticed that both of them have very different styles. Ms. Shibani portrays her poems in a strong and quick manner, more like a rap, whereas Ms. Aastha likes to go through her poems slowly and sweetly more like a slow, soothing song.
The workshop started in the morning. When we entered the room all of us sat together and Ms. Mayura introduced us to the two beautiful writers and after that they took over. They did an ice-breaking activity with us and then we had a small activity followed by an introduction to few do’s and don’ts of presenting slam poetry. After which we had a small break. When we got back, we listened to what would probably be a teen poet's dream come true moment, “Cinderella Syndrome” by Ms. Shibani Das. The poem was about the expectations we have from young love and the reality that follows, the poem was stunning as it took us back in time to an insight into Ms. Shibani’s life.
Afterwards, we had a discussion on how not to let your nervousness be revealed to the audience when presenting your slam poem. We also looked at a poem by Ms. Aastha which was actually written by her in the morning as a response to a call-out by her favorite writer. The poem was very relatable and even after all the denying by Ms. Aastha the poem did seem to be written in the morning! To top the day, we were put in groups and were told to write our singular poems and collate them to present to the class with all our group members. The topic was “A letter to your younger self”.
Overall, I can very confidently say that this was the best workshop and an unforgettable day of my middle school life as I was one of those few people who is a die-hard fan of slam poetry. I would like to thank both Ms. Shibani and Ms. Aastha along with all of our wonderful English teachers for giving us an opportunity to learn so much. Thank you so much and on behalf of all of us in Pathways I’d like to say that we truly admire both of you.
At the start of the lesson, Slam poetry was no different for me from any other form of poetry. I thought that poetry consisted of only one type which is filled with poetic devices and hidden meanings. This belief stayed with me until we started the unit on slam poetry. Later, I found out that Slam poetry is not only hidden meanings and complex terms but feelings and emotions that are expressed in so many ways. Spoken words are so expressive and can help connect many different people from around the world. One emotion that we strive to Interpret from written word can be expressed simply with spoken word.
This was easy enough to understand. However, how to use drama to entertain through means of poetry is something else. Aastha and Shibani’s workshop and their personal performed poetry gave usreal life examples on how to create slam poetry, how to exude confidence and how poetry can be used to express range of emotions using drama. I found the “writing poetry together” exercise in the workshop most helpful. This helped me understand how different perspectives can be elicited from one topic and none of them are neither wrong nor in tandem with the theme. The art though is mixing all those ideas into one single poetry.
Putting traditional poetry aside and gather confidence to not recite but perform the poem is an extremely important aspect of the whole ordeal. As much as you try to make them go away, butterflies still flutter in your stomach every time you perform. The workshop’s tips and tricks to survive this, will prove fruitful in future during any audience performance. The best part is if you fake confidence, it naturally comes to you.
By Tarsha Swami - 8A