Show must go on for CAP Board’s poetry slam

By Paul Skow
October 15, 2009

Lauren Sliva

Talented poet Carlos Robson recently made an appearance at Cabrini’s poetry slam event. Though it was intended that several poets would perform, including Cabrini students, Robson ended up being the only poet who appeared at the event.

There was initially a worry that the show would not go on, but Robson remained professional and amiable, sticking around and doing a brilliant routine for the small crowd who arrived for the event.

The poetry slam took place in Grace Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 30. There was a stage set up in anticipation of a larger audience for the event, but with the low attendance Robson did his poetry at the table where Cabrini students sat, making it quite an intimate and moving experience.

A poetry slam is a poetry competition where original material is performed. Members of the audience then judge the poetry and give the poets a score for their performance.

“If it weren’t for poetry slams, I don’t think people would know about spoken word poetry,” Robson said.

Robson was born in Tampa, Fla., but moved to Charlotte, N.C. when he was 10. He now considers Charlotte his home.

He started writing poetry in 2004 when he was about 20 years old, so he is still relatively new to the field.

His poetry career got an unlikely kick start in college when he wrote a poem for an assignment. His poem got such a positive response from his teacher and peers that he decided that he would continue his poetry writing.

One of Robson’s biggest honors was when he performed on an HBO Def Poetry special. Def Poetry was also very influential in shaping Robson’s style and interest in pursuing a full time career in poetry.

Most of Robson’s work is with colleges and universities, though he also participates in team poetry slams.

“Most of my poems are stories,” Robson said. He began his performance with a poem about his friend Sam, who was a positive childhood influence and hero. Other poems include serious subjects such as Vietnam veterans and his fear of a plane crash, as well as one about a heroin addict who names her son “Sunshine” and uses her love of her child to try to repress her drug addiction.

Robson said of his poetry, “I realize that my words mean more than I think they do.”

Though many CAP Board and other Cabrini sponsored events have been sparsely attended, the low attendance of this event may have been partly due to the crucial Phillies game, in which they were trying to secure a playoff spot, taking place at the same time.

CAP Board mentioned to Robson after the performance that they would love to have him back at another time when more people could attend. Robson agreed. So there may be another chance in the near future for Cabrini students to catch this outstanding up-and-coming poet.

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Paul Skow

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