Noho’s 2nd Annual Poetry Slam

Presented by BSU and Noho Poets


Nicole Billotti (She/Her), Reporter

On May 30th, two of North Hollywood High School’s most popular and lively clubs joined together to present the school’s 2nd Annual Poetry Slam event! 

Clubs BSU and Noho Poets have been eager to host an event that students immensely look forward to throughout the year. The Poetry Slam was held in the Amphitheater during periods two and three and had a multitude of different poets reading their inspiring original work. 

“I love the variety in poems; you can tell how a person thinks and views the world by listening to their poem,” explains NHHS junior Erica Sherkin, president of the Noho Poets club. 

Erica started writing her poems during freshman year while we were in quarantine. She says, “It was a creative outlet that let me express myself during a difficult time, and it led me to keep writing poetry as I went through high school.” 

Sherkin goes on to describe her favorite parts about the poetry slams. “For starters, I love how it’s an intimate space where you have full creative freedom to tell an audience what is on your mind and what you care about, whether it be a social justice issue, an environmental issue, etc. As soon as you start the poem, the room goes quiet and you can tell the space about an issue, without any hesitation,” illustrates Sherkin. 

“I also love how poetry slams are usually in cool spaces, like record stores or outdoor gardens, which gives it a very indie feel,” she adds.

“We have around 15 -20 members in Noho Poets!” Erica describes, “In preparation for the slam, we began encouraging each member to sign up to read their original poems, as well as focusing on different types of poetry in our club meetings leading up to the slam. Poems such as the kind found in rap and hip hop, all the way to Shakespeare’s classic sonnets. The goal is to get the message across that poetry can be found in anything and written in any way.” 

Host of the poetry slam and president of BSU, D’ani Gumbs gives insight into the process of hosting such an impactful event. 

“BSU started the annual poetry slams last year with the help of Sherkin and the rest of the club, so with each annual slam moving forward, BSU and Noho Poets collaborated to create a similar experience for those who wish to participate and watch. BSU brought cultural relevance and support for the slams as well,” Gumbs describes. 

Gumbs further went on to say that “BSU provided a notable guest speaker, cultivating the activities and overall fellowship within the slam itself.” As there is no determined theme to this slam and is completely open-ended, D’ani expresses how she was excited to be surprised by the differences and similarities in topics that they get. “Often topics include love, family, feelings, experiences, loved ones and many more,” stated Gumbs. 

Furthermore, Erica states that she’s anticipating sharing her poems about human relationships, the magic in friendships, and certain things about life that mean a lot to her, like the beauty of nature or the value of finding meaning in the little things. 

Junior Jordan Sales is a member of BSU and a poet who shared his work at the recent slam. Sales states that BSU plays an integral role in the poetry slam because “It’s important to represent different perspectives and backgrounds in a poetry slam, and black voices have been prevalent throughout the history of poetry.” 

“I’m expecting to see our poets address current social issues as well as personal memoirs. I wrote about personal experiences as well as specific thoughts or ideas that I usually struggle to put into words while speaking,” exclaims Sales.

Many students are excitedly awaiting the slam to take place and to be able to read and listen to a collection of beautiful poems written by the Noho Poets. It brings a sense of comfort and pride for the writers to be allowed to present a vulnerable and creative side to themselves through their own poetry.