Vegas is known for a lot of things, but often we don't hear about the artist who keeps the culture the big bright city alive. Here I chat with Lo, a 24-year-old poet based in Las Vegas, NV, who shines a light on her creative streak.
1.) How old were you first introduced to poetry, and when did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
I was introduced to poetry in high school, but I wasn’t interested. I didn’t decide I wanted to be a writer. I just needed to write in college when I was going through some rough patches in life—I was given a notebook at a HRC Leadership & Career Summit, and it came out in poetry.
2.) Who or what influences your work?
My experiences. The books I read, the people I meet, the movies I watch, and the music and poetry I listen to.
3.) What is one of the toughest subjects to talk about?
Triggering subjects for myself and the audiences I perform to. It's traumatizing to write and read tougher subjects: eating disorders, rape, and war/death of people who didn’t ask to die. There are multiple for me.
4.) What made you decide to get into the poetry slam?
I wanted to grow as an artist, and I didn’t want fear to stop me from trying.
5.) What’s the hardest thing about slamming?
I don’t think slamming is hard. I just focus on remembering why I wrote my poem and getting into that place before I begin my poem, not worrying about the scores/judges. It’s about self-growth. It’s a competition, but my art always comes first.
6.) What do you do when you’re not writing/performing?
I like to engage in other art forms. I enjoy spending time with my family, and I love to read.
7.) Above all, what do you want your readers/listeners to take from your written work?
Writing can be a healing process, and reading it out loud can touch people who don’t write. Write the tough poems, and perform them when it feels right for you.
8.) Who is your favorite writer and how did their words touch you?
Maya Angelou, because she was the first person to show me my poetry didn't have to be grammatically correct and I could use colloquial language with my meaning still being understood. She made me less fearless to write, and share my work...
Battle Born slam is the only poetry slam team based in southern Nevada created by Kari O'Connor and A.J. Moyer in 2010. This year's slammers include Rell da Truth, Ms. Aye Vee (Ashley M. Vargas), Lo Campbell and Vogue Robinson. This year the team will be heading to Decatur, Georgia for a five-day event competing against 100+ poets around the world! If you want to make a contribution, go to GoFundMe.
How does NPS Work?
"Poetry slam is conventionally defined as the art of competitive performance poetry. Invented in the 1980s by a Chicago construction worker named Marc Smith (So What?), slam is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Performers use all the tricks of storytelling, songwriting, theatre, stand-up comedy, and cold hard poetry to wheedle points out of the judges from 0.0 (terrible) to 10.0 (perfect!).
Slam is not a passive performance: in addition to the judges, other audience members are strongly encouraged to participate by cheering, whistling, or mildly heckling the hosts or judges.
What is NPS?
The National Poetry Slam is the annual poetry slam championship tournament, wherein four to five-person teams from all over North America and Europe gather to compete against each other for the national team title. The week-long festival is part championship tournament, part poetry summer camp, and part traveling exhibition. Staged in a different city each year, the National Poetry Slam has emerged as slam's highest-profile showcase."
— National Poetry Slam Inc.