George Watsky’s voice transformed Seymour Union Student Lounge into a poet’s haven on the night of Oct. 12. His energetically sincere style of slam poetry charmed newcomers and fans alike.
This performance was Watsky’s second appearance on the Knox campus. It has been two years since his last visit and the Union Board was happy to bring him back.
“He came before and did an awesome show,” said junior and Union Board Co-Chair Jack Moore.
“We always like to bring poets because there’s always a consistent group [of students] who love poetry.”
Watsky’s show of “stolen brilliant ideas” was a joy to watch. His performance is very much like the journey of a river. The flow of his words carries the reader along with him. Pauses, like rocks in the river, only raise anticipation for the exhilarating rapids that are to follow.
Watsky manages the difficult task of walking the line between humorous and serious poetry. In a section he called his show’s “soapbox,” Watsky discussed the self centered attitude that is a side effect of America’s privileged place in the world, as well as and sustainability—a cause close to Watsky’s heart— without feeling overly preachy. At the same time, he could make the entire audience break into peals of laughter. The show’s content ranged from poems about love and loneliness to a “poetic monologue” about becoming a robot.
Although Watsky is only 24 years old, he has had many years to practice his craft. He began writing and performing slam poetry at the age of 16.
“When I first saw spoken word, it was like nothing I had ever seen before,” Watsky said. “It was the union of everything I was interested in.” He has been performing poetry professionally since 2007 when he read a poem at “Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry” on HBO.
Freshman Danika Hill was already a fan of Watsky when she came to the show. “I came because I listened to him on the internet.”
She had found out about him from a friend of hers, who is a giant fan of Watsky’s. “She said she would kill me if I didn’t come,” Hill said with a laugh.
“It was a fun experience,” said sophomore David Wawzenek. “I would highly recommend it to other people.”
Sophomore Rose Dolezal was less restrained in her description of her experience: “Slam poetry kicks ass.”
She brought her friend, freshman Caitlin Stone, to the show.
“I was eating dinner with this girl and she said I should come,” said Stone. “It was really awesome. I might buy a book [of Watsky’s poems] right now.”
Anyone interested in Watsky can find out more at his website www.georgewatsky.com.