Jube “Godschild” Charles (’14) took second place in the Poetry Slam semifinal round at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe on the Lower East Side last Friday, October 28.
Charles’s second-place standing qualifies him for another semifinal round and brings him one step closer to making New York’s competitive poetry slamming team.
“I write poetry because I don’t have a choice,” Charles said. “My poetry is neo-civil-rights-meets-God in five minutes. I write poetry to promote social and spiritual freedom.”
Charles is a Politics, Philosophy, and Economics major with an Education minor. He plans to write and recite poetry after graduation as a part-time vocation.
“Hopefully poetry can be my night job,” Charles said.
Judges rate the poets on a zero-to-ten scale; the highest possible combined score is a 30. Two-tenths of a point separated Charles from the first place winner, Jay Nova, who received the first slot in the Grand Slam Finals set for April 2012.
Each of six competitors recited one poem to earn their first scores. The four top scorers then performed two additional poems each in the last two rounds of the semifinal slam.
The poems must always be the poets’ original work. Every poet has three minutes (plus a ten-second grace period) to read one poem.
The themes of social corruption, the universal availability of salvation, and freedom by enslavement to Christ ran through Charles’s three poems. Other poets’ themes included the sinfulness of man, the pain of promiscuity, love and loss, childhood abandonment and parental love. Nova’s winning poem used computer and social media brands and lingo to metaphorically describe a sexual encounter with his girlfriend.
People from California, Florida, Iowa, Massachusetts, England, Italy, Germany, Denmark and more packed the Nuyorican Poets Cafe for the Poetry Slam. A line formed outside the cafe hours in advance of the event.
“This is the first time I’ve attended a Poetry Slam,” Marie Ragona of Long Island said. “I enjoy poetry as another outlet of creativity. It’s an important part of culture.”
DJ and professional poet Eliel Lucero and California college student Rudy Francisco opened the night with pre-competition performances. Lucero’s poetry included the topics of American lower-class struggles and broken hearts. Francisco’s poetry expressed his love for a beautiful Starbucks barista and questioned people’s association of God with certain socio-political issues.