By Katie Goodale
The Campus Activities Board will host its first professional slam-poetry performance tonight.
Kyla Lacey will share her empowering poetry and pass on wisdom to young Iowa writers as they participate in CAB’s Slam Poetry competition in honor of Black History Month from 9 p.m. to midnight today in the IMU Main Lounge.
Lacey is a two-time Campus Activities Magazine “Female Performer of the Year” nominee, and she will focus her performance on feminism and white privilege.
She has performed at more than 200 colleges across the country and boasts accomplishments such as writing for the Huffington Post. Much of her poetry focuses on current issues, including feminism and race, exploring them through a unique blend of lyricism and humor.
Lacey said writing was always there for her and will always be there.
“I think my first poem was copy-written when I was 10, and I always wrote on and off,” she said. “I always loved words. I was originally a foreign-language major, a German/French major … but I always loved words, and I always had something to say.”
CAB first heard of Lacey at the annual National Association for Campus Activities event last year. CAB has hosted slam-poetry events in the past; however, this will be the first slam-poetry contest that hosts a professional. Director of the event Nicole Hobson said in an email to The Daily Iowan she felt that Lacey’s story was very inspiring.
“Her pieces often are inspired her own personal experiences as a female African American in our society, so we believed her performance would fit perfectly in the month of February, which is Black History Month,” she said.
In addition to her performance, Lacey will MC a student slam-poetry contest.
The competition will be taking place right before her own reading and will give out prizes to the major student winners. Students will be reading poetry centered on African-American pride, Black History Month, and love or heartbreak.
UI freshman Becca Swanson said in an email to The Daily Iowan that she is excited about the event because of the talent of the university’s writers.
“I’ve never seen slam poetry in person, and I’m extra excited to watch my friend participate. I know she is nervous because slam poetry seems like such an intimate thing to share with others,” she said. “Poetry in general seems like a very intimate thing.”
Students winners will be announced at the end of the night with winners able to choose among a number of prizes, including a $30 Netflix gift card.
Lacey said young writers need to work on creating work that is vulnerable to the reader.
“People see pieces of me that aren’t always the prettiest, but they’re relatable,” she said, “I think that’s what people relate to. They think, ‘I’m not the only person who’s going through this. I’m not the only person that feels this.’ And when you are open, and you’re honest with yourself, and you’re honest in your writing, that’s what people feel. That’s what people are going to really connect to.”