Categorized | Arts & Entertainment

KnowEye prepares for national slam competition

Lara Sinangil

Senior A&E Writer

From March 25-28 KnowEyePoetry Collective, Wooster’s competitive slam poetry team, will battle in the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) at Virginia Commonwealth University for the second consecutive year.

The name KnowEyePoetry came to Caira Lee ’16, initial founder and president of the organization, when she was pondering the fear of self-expression among many students on campus. The name is an homage to the courage poets possess when expressing their thoughts to the world.

She stated, “… the name KnowEye is sort of an omen, a wish, that whoever joins the team does so with their physical eyes closed — no eyes. And with their hearts open, brave. Ready to delve into the incredibly rewarding life of being a performance artist. And, hopefully, at the end, they can turn around and tell the world ‘Know me. Know I am a poet. Know I slam.’”

KnowEyePoetry collective was established last year by founding members, Lee, Jahqwahn Watson ’17, Jestin Kusch ’15, Ashley Jones ’15 and Casandra Huey ’17.

Although they are a relatively new group on campus, they have already made their mark in the slam poetry world. KnowEye had the opportunity to compete at CUPSI last year and were nominated for several awards, including Best Persona Piece, Pushing the Art Forward, Spirit of the Slam and Best Writing by a Team. Three members also competed at Wabash College’s annual poetry slam, and out of 10 poets, took first, second and third place in the competition.

CUPSI is the largest slam poetry competition in the United States, and has been in existence for 15 years. Over 60 collegiate teams compete every year, including groups from the University of New Mexico, Occidental College and Yale University.

At this event, the poetry teams not only compete for accolades, but also attend poetry workshops and perform for other college teams, hoping to improve their craft and express themselves in front of an audience.

KnowEye has high hopes for their second year competing in CUPSI and believes their work will have a large impact on campus life at Wooster.

When asked about the importance of CUPSI, Lee commented, “These poets speak on topics of love, religion, gender, politics, leadership and personal triumphs in very versatile ways. They desire to bring the knowledge gained at CUPSI back to Wooster by designing and facilitating advanced performance and writing workshops for the College and members of the city.”

While winning competitions is important, Lee believes that KnowEye is more focused on making an impact on their audiences.

She commented, “I remember at our first campus showcase multiple students came up to me in tears expressing how my poem had affected them — that they’ve always wanted to say some of the things I did but were afraid.”

Lee added “When your peers get on stage and do something you thought wasn’t possible -— it challenges you to smash the demons holding you back from evolving and inspires you to embrace a dormant part of your existence.”

“So the possibilities of our impact on campus are endless. As far as how well we’ve done so far, that can be measured by asking our listeners how they feel.”


The Scene: If you like this…

Laura Merrell

While the weather may still be cold and blustery, spring television and movies are upon us. From Netflix originals to feature films, these new media offerings feature reinvented classics and fresh, new material.

If you like Once Upon a Time and classic Disney movies, then you’ll like Cinderella.

Released on March 13, this fresh live-action take on a classic boasts an all-star cast. At the helm is Kenneth Branagh, famous for film adaptions of Shakespeare. The cast list reads like a who’s who of film and television with Lily James from Downton Abbey in the eponymous role and Richard Madden from Game of Thrones as her suitor. Cate Blanchett plays the evil stepmother.

The film’s magic comes from its stunning costumes crafted by Sandy Powell, winner of three Academy Awards for Costume Design with 10 overall nominations. Powell was inspired by the old glamour of Chanel and Dior when she designed Blanchett’s ball gown in shades of yellow and green with villainous red lipstick. Cinderella’s dress for the ball is incredible, iridescent and shimmering in periwinkle, covered in crystals and lit from within by LED lights. There has been Internet backlash about the impossibly tiny waist James has in the dress, but James and Powell have responded to the controversy by claiming it is due to a corset. Branagh’s version does not reinvent the wheel, but it is a fun, mesmerizing take on the old Disney fairytale, anchored by a high-quality cast and exquisite sets and costumes.

If you like Reign, The Tudors, Keeping Up with the Kardashians and the British Royal family, then you’ll like The Royals.

As the first scripted show on the E! Network, The Royals’ pace and tone is similar to the channel’s popular reality shows such as The Girls Next Door and Ice Loves Coco. Set in present day London, the show follows a fictional family of British Royals. While the characters reference actual royals such as Prince Harry and Prince William, the show stays away from simply copying the actual members of the House of Windsor. Queen Helena Henstridge, portrayed by Elizabeth Hurley, is a far cry from the current queen. Unlike Elizabeth II, who has weights in her skirts to avoid flashing the cameras, Queen Helena swears, plots and wears tight clothes.

In the pilot, the heir apparent is killed, so the Queen and King must decide who will be next in line to the throne between their two surviving children. With drug problems, illicit romances, scheming and blackmail, The Royals is a classic soap opera packed with beautiful people and explosive drama with a dash of regal class thrown in.

The Hollywood Reporter gave the show a negative review, criticizing its boring plot, but it has already been renewed for a second season. The E! Network has never produced poignant, moving dramas, and The Royals is no exception. However, fans of older shows such as Sex and the City and Gossip Girl may have found their new guilty pleasure on television.

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