Montclair is Buzzing with Slam Poetry

Montclair is Buzzing with Slam Poetry
Posted on 05/09/2017

Students take the mike at the Montclair Art Museum

Slam poetry is firmly taking root in Montclair among our middle school students. For the past two years, Buzz Aldrin Middle School integrated this literary genre into its existing curriculum with comprehensive writing and performance poetry workshops led by Rich Villar, a critically-acclaimed poet-in-residence secured with generous funding from both the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence and the Buzz Aldrin PTA. The workshops prepared the students for the school’s competition slam called “Every Story Matters.” New this year, the inaugural Montclair Literary Festival also held a juried poetry slam in March, inviting middle school students from across the district to compete on a stage at the high school.

Both slams culminated in a non-competitive showcase at the Free First Thursday Night soiree on May 4 on the main stage in Leir Hall at the Montclair Art Museum. Thirteen poets, representing all three Montclair middle schools: Buzz Aldrin, Glenfield and Renaissance across all three grades, confidently took to the stage to share edgy, emotional and invigorating poems with the community. They were joined by Villar and Montclair’s own award-winning poet Lauren Marie Schmidt. According to one 5th grader in attendance at the MAM event, “The poets inspire you through their enthusiasm and also through the meaning and depth of their poems.”


  • ♣Elleana Feldman and Nicki Rose. 8th grade. “Radioactive Marbles”


  • ♣Maggie Borgen. 8th grade. “Out of Time”

Buzz Aldrin

  • Katie Mathis, 8th grade. “Burning Flags”
  • Dylan Rafael, 6th grade. “A Riddle”
  • ♦Georgia Chen. 8th grade. “Blabber Mouth”
  • ♦Chanel Armand, 8th grade. “Eraser”
  • Alexander Pinargote. 6th Grade. “Fear”
  • ♦♣Daniel Moroze. 8th grade. “One in a Million”
  • Olivia North-Crotty, 8th grade. “Romantic Love and How It Hurts”
  • Reilly O'Sullivan, 7th grade. “Asleep”
  • ♦Leah Chatman, Tiana Layne, Nyana Usher. 8th grade “Appearances”
  • ♦Ava Summers. 7th grade. “Layers”

♦Buzz Aldrin Middle School SLAM 2017 winners
♣Montclair Literary Festival 2017 winners

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