Bowman Middle School eighth-grader Andrew Robinson reads a line of a poem about bullying this past week at the school’s first poetry slam. Robinson and other students performed a group poem about bullying to open the slam in front of teachers, administrators and other students.

Bowman students wax poetic

BAKERSVILLE – Eighth-grade students at Bowman Middle School had a chance to express themselves in front of their classmates this past week at the school’s first poetry slam. 

Under the guidance of eighth-grade English teacher Cindy Ollis, four language arts classes wrote poems earlier this school year as part of their study of poetry and this past week read them in front of their peers in the auditorium.

“They’ve learned about figurative language and poetic devices,” Ollis said. “These eighth-graders have not practiced together as a whole, they’ve only practiced in their homerooms.”

The eighth graders performed the poems in front of teachers, administrators and other grade levels. 

After each reading, the audience stayed true to the customs of a poetry reading and collectively snapped their fingers instead of clapping. 

The performance started with a group poem about bullying. Each student in the line took turns turning around and reading one line of the poem that told a story about the importance of putting an end to bullying. 

The next part of the performance featured group poems. Groups of two-to-four students took turns reading their poems – some were humorous pieces and others tackled deeper subjects. 

The performance wrapped up with individual readings. Some poems were centered on mature themes such as depression, suicide and loneliness. 

“No one copied or plagiarized,” Ollis said. “A lot of these poems are deep. They have written, rewritten and edited for the past two weeks.”

Eighth-grader Brianna Jones said she enjoyed being able to express herself but admitted reading in front of her peers was difficult. 

“It was kind of scary to actually get up on the stage,” Jones said. “It was fun learning the different types of poetry and getting to write about what you feel. I like writing down my feelings so I wrote a bunch of poems.”


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