Spookfest: Why Slam gets spooky in celebration of its first Halloween

Justin Peterson, sporting horns for Spookfest, performs an original poem.

Justin Peterson, sporting horns for Spookfest, performs an original poem.

Why Slam, the poetry competition hosted by local music venue Why Sound, celebrated its first Halloween with a special event called Spookfest on Tuesday at 7:30.

Poets were encouraged to perform their spookiest poems. Performances were rated by a panel of judges who gave scores on a 10 point scale, with an added bonus of up to five “ghost points” given for especially scary pieces.

The winning poets were Kate Lange in first place, Justin Peterson in second, and Elijah West in third.

Nate Hardy, a Utah State student who performed at Spookfest, credits both host Kate Lange and the crowd at Why Slam for creating a great atmosphere.

“The host is amazing. She does such a good job,” Hardy said. “If you can take something like poetry, which some people look at and say, ‘that’s lame,’ and make it something where an entire room full of people is just going nuts over it, it’s so much fun.”

For Hardy, poetry is a way to break the monotony of everyday life.

“I’m trying to find a way to put this into words, but there’s so much bullshit,” Hardy said. “It’s just looking for something that’s not the daily grind. It’s looking for something above that.”

Hardy is grateful for the opportunity to share something he is passionate about with others.

“That’s what I love about it,” Hardy said of Why Slam. “It takes poetry, which is my passion, and makes it into something that people want to listen to; that’s why I like the atmosphere here.”

The floor of the downtown Logan venue served as seating for the crowd who gathered to watch the performers.

Justin Peterson, a poet who often performs at Why Slam under the name Weird Sense — “like weird sense of humor,” Peterson explained — has been happy to see the growth of the event and its community in recent months. For Peterson, the highlight of the event was seeing the new poets who performed.

“It was really nice seeing the old poets who are really good and have always been doing this,” Peterson said. “But the new people tonight that are really good and came up for their first time made me feel happy, seeing that new talent is coming out.”

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