Inaugural Mad Hatter Poetry Slam

(This entry is under construction.  It will be expanded over time.)

Our first Mad Hatter Poetry Slam was held on December 18, 2010 in the home of Sean and Catherine.  We came together to celebrate our love of literature, the end of the semester and Lee’s birthday.  Everyone came in their maddest hat, ready to share poetry with The Creative Collective.

Front row, left to right: Mathias, Kenna, Blanca, Lee, Ginny, Jorge.  Back row: Tyler, Catherine, Sean, Marshall, Alisha, Jenny, Stewart and Jill.


Stewart went first:

He shared a piece in Japanese (he wouldn’t tell us what it meant) and a piece of original poetry he wrote in 8th grade.  The candle went out during his recitation, and he wondered if it was a bad omen.


Kenna shared some original limericks about finals.


Mathias shared two poems:

He presented Invictus, a poem that Nelson Mandela memorized to give him strength during his incarceration.

Invictus by William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


Ginny shared some original poetry:

Her piece was considered by the group to be the best of the night.

Poem by Ginny Tilby

I have been asked to write a poem.
Hold on whilst I let my mind roam.
At this moment I don’t know what to write about.
But don’t worry!  It’s nothing to cry about.
As I glance across the room…
Ah hah!  I see our shiny broom!
I can tell of its years of labor,
And recall the floors that got cleaner.
I’m certain it changed the lives
Of many families and wives.
Yes, that would be a splendid idea, except…
I’ve really only known this broom for a bit
Cuz I just moved in a few months ago.
Yikes!  Only 15 minutes left to write this… SO-
My ceiling is nice.
Or I can write about my rice!!
Perhaps you’d like to hear
About my three-nosed neighbor, who’s queer.
There’s also a family of bats
Who come by to visit the rats.
They enjoy tea and muffins at noon.
I once lent them borrow a wooden spoon.
Well this poem’s gettin’ nowhere.
But too bad!  Listening to this poem, you have to bear.
Next time I’ll tell of my willow tree
Who hides quietly under my bed and sings to me.
Don’t tell her I told you, but the truth is
She can’t carry a tune.  She sounds like this:
Ha ha, you thought I was going to sing for you.
Too bad, I’m not.  And, imitating a willow tree is impossible to do.
I still don’t know what this poem is about.
Next time I’ll try taking a different route.
Until then,
The end.


Jill (Stewart’s wife) shared some poetry from her childhood:


Alisha shared several pieces:

She also performed a recitation (in a Scottish accent) of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, for which she received The Collective’s equivalent of a standing ovation.


Alicia shared original poetry, a piece written specifically for the poetry slam and two other pieces published by the UVU press.

T’was the Night Before Finals by Alicia VanNoy Call

Twas the night before finals and all through the school,
UVU students were starting to drool.

They were seen nestled ‘tween piles of books,
napping in corners and crumpled in nooks.

And Kenna in Drawing III and I in my heads class
had realized that illustration was kicking our ass.

Stewart could be seen sketching droplets madly,
and Jorge was rendering Ginny (not badly).

Lish graded poorly-written papers by the pile
and Tyler hadn’t surfaced from the flu for a while.

I knew that all of my friends needed a break,
a rest was something they clearly should take.

So I talked to my cousins and made invitations.
I hoped to provide some fun recreation.

Come Marshall, come Lisha, come Stewart and Ginny!
Come Jorge, come Kenna, come Ty, Jill and Jenny!

To my cousin’s sweet crib, to the best place of all,
Come to my birthday, now come one and all!

Driving from Heber and Provo and Salt Lake
they came and shared poetry and ate birthday cake.

They came in mad hats, they came through the snow,
They came to forget all their troubles and woes.

And I said, “Oh my friends, I can’t thank you enough
I will never forget what you’ve written and stuff.

You are the best people, so witty and clever,
You have made this the best birthday ever!”


Ambrosia by Alicia VanNoy Call

And thus he came among us,
walking devilishly,
attempting to turn the hearts of the children of men
to the side of darkness.

“Hist,” he spake unto me, “desirest thou power and dominion?”

“Nay,” wast my answer, “I desirest not power, nor dominion, nor any of the sort of blasphemy thou mayest offer.”

“What about this?” came his reply, as he brought forth a cold glass of demon’s brew, bubbling with newly sliced lemon and floating temptingly with ice.

Thus, my heart did skip a fluid beat at this and I confess that I did ask him, “What is it?”

And behold, waving the brew underneath my weakening nose, he did say, “Diet Coke.”

And tell you that in this moment, I fell upon my face before him and did entreat him to bestow upon me that most divine of temptations, the ice cold Diet Coke with lemon. And he did ask me for my soul and endless servitude, which I gladly promised in exchange for that bubbly refreshing wickedness.

Behold, such is the fall of a soul. And thus I end my speaking unto you.



Hang-Ups by Alicia VanNoy Call

I tell him I like walking in the rain,
especially when it’s cold.
It feels good…
or maybe,
I mean that it’s good to feel
anything for once.

Rain makes me sneeze,
he says,
I’m scared that if I sneeze and forget to close my eyes,
they’ll fall out.

I realize he’s serious
and I laugh,
but I’m not sure why.
Maybe it’s the image:
Him clapping his hand over his eyes
one second too late,
reaching out,
groping blindly across the wet sidewalk.
I imagine him saying,
Not again!

I’m not depressed,
he says,
I’m just not happy.

Which makes me wonder what he’s like
when he is…
happy, I mean.




Jorge delivered poetry from a video game:

He had us all giggling.


Marshall presented original works, very personal in nature.  We felt privileged that he shared with us.


Catherine shared Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy.  Alicia’s aunt Blanca presented some Shel Silverstein.


Alisha made a birthday cake from scratch.  In the shape of a top hat.  Of course!


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