Lauren Williams, who attends the University College of the Cayman Islands, has won this year’s Creative Frame of Mind in the Love Poetry Slam finals, which was staged by the New Self Help Community Foundation to celebrate Child Month.
In an hour-long YouthFlex broadcast on Radio Cayman, Ms. Williams competed with 11 other young poets live on-air. The 20-year-old came in first place, winning $500 with her original “spoken word” composition, “Bang, Bang.” Her poem tackled the realities of children who grow up in the Caribbean and experience absentee parents and gun violence.
Cayman Prep and High School student Romilly Miller placed second in the competition, winning a $400 cash prize. The 18-year-old’s poem, “My Anxiety,” was about the coping mechanisms and self-esteem of teens battling anxiety and mental health issues.
Sanaa Archer and Bella Grieff, a duo who are also from Cayman Prep, placed third. The 16-year-olds, who will share the $300 prize money, penned and performed “Statistics,” which contextualized social issue statistics affecting teens such as gender non-conformity, gun violence and depression.
Poetry slams are fast-paced competitive events where poets recite original poems that deal with personal and/or consciousness-raising topics. Contestants at the May 2 event were judged on originality, performance, stage presence, writing ability and thematic understanding.
As well as cash prizes, the winners also earned the chance to perform in June’s Talent Xposition of the Arts. The annual youth talent show is organized by the New Self Help Community Foundation.
“I was happy to see so many young people take part and produce high-quality poetry pieces,” said Youth Services Unit Coordinator and YouthFlex Producer, James Myles. “The Cayman Islands is blessed with very talented young people and thanks to the New Self Help Community Foundation, the Youth Services Unit, Radio Cayman and the Young Caymanian Leadership Award recipient, Faith Gealey, we were able to showcase their poetic skills.”
Other finalists were from John Gray High School, Cayman Prep and High School, Clifton Hunter High School, Cayman Islands Further Education Centre and the Lighthouse School.