By Allura Morneau, Staff Reporter

Poetry Slam Winner Brittany Courtot with the Second Place Winner Victoria Luce (Photo by Allura Morneau)

Poetry Slam Winner Brittany Courtot with the Second Place Winner Victoria Luce (Photo by Allura Morneau)

 

University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) junior Brittany Courtot recently won the first place at the Poetry Slam competition held in the Landing.

Courtot is a self taught poet. She took home the first place prize, of fifty-dollars, without ever taking any formal writing classes. She beat ten other talented poets, many of whom are creative writing majors. “[I’m] surprised, a little bit, because there were some great poets here tonight,” said Courtot. “The money’s great, but the recognition and the validation mean more, as well as coming together with a bunch of poet-minded people, it’s just great.”

Courtot explained that not being a creative writing student doesn’t mean poetry doesn’t pertain to her work. “Initially, I was going to get a minor [in Creative Writing] but they don’t offer that [at UMF], so I’m just sticking with my major and concentration,” said Courtot. “Just because I’m not a Creative Writing major, it doesn’t mean I won’t try and incorporate [poetry] in my classroom in the future.”

Like many student writers, Courtot has been writing for a very long time. “Most of the poems that I read tonight were written in the last couple months,” she said, “but I’ve been writing poetry since I was in high school.”

The final poem she read for the slam was entitled Boxes of Impossible Things, which described the narrator riding a cardboard box down snowy hills. The boxes in her poem would magically transform into vehicles. “When I was a kid, my mom and my grandmother both worked at my elementary middle school I would be at the school during off hours,” said Courtot. “In the winter, my grandmother who was the custodian, would take cardboard boxes from the kitchen my sister and I would use them as sleds. I used to pretend they were different things, like an aeroplane or a ship or a knight’s horse, which is what inspired the poem.”

Creative writing major Victoria Luce double major came in second, only two points behind Courtot. “[I’m] pretty happy. Obviously, I wanted to win, but I’ve never competed in one of these things before, so I’m pretty happy with second place for my first try. I’m also not a poet,” said Luce. “Brittany deserved it though. She definitely deserved first. I’m really happy Brittany got it.”

Luce said she would probably participate in slam poetry events in the future. “I don’t have a lot of poetry. I have what I wrote for class. So I would want to write more if I wanted to compete again. I’m a senior so I should probably start writing more.”

Junior and creative writing major Elise Musicant is the president of the Poetry Slam Club, and was responsible for organizing the event. “Every semester we have a 3 round poetry slam, and this year we had a $50 grand prize. The other events during this semester are non-competitive, so the grand prize gives it extra appeal,” said Musicant. “ There’s 3 rounds, and after each round, contestants are eliminated, so it becomes more intense.”

Musicant wants to encourage poets from all backgrounds to participate in Poetry Slam events. “Poetry Slam Club is not just for creative writing students. We’ve had education majors, theater majors, and even math majors come and have a lot of fun.”