The Oberlin Review

Annika Hansteen-Izora, Poet

Annika Hansteen-Izora, Poet

November 9, 2018

Annika Hansteen-Izora, OC ’17, returned to Oberlin this past weekend to perform poetry at the Cat in the Cream as the opening act for Porsha Olayiwola. While a first-year at Oberlin, Izora founded OSlam, now one of campus’ most influential organizations, which turned five this year. To quote the event description, she “is a queer Black poet, artist, and activist. She believes in the power of Black joy, of protecting Black girl rage, and uplifting the stories and magic of the women before he...

Oslam Open Mic Highlights Talent of New Poets

Kate Fishman, Arts & Culture Editor

September 14, 2018

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

Each time a poet took to the stage and announced their name and pronouns followed by “I’m a first-year,” the audience erupted into a chorus of snapping and cheering. This was “Back 2 School Open Mic,” hosted by OSlam, Oberlin’s poetry collective. The event, which occurred last Friday at the Cat in the Cream, was the first opportunity this academic year for Oberlin students to hop on stage alongside OSlam’s three current members and share some of their work. “I’ve worked a lot of open mics because I work at the Cat in the Cream, and it can be really hard,” College junior Amy Sahud said. “The energy can definitely dip, [but] I feel like we sustained it. I thought [the audience] was really supportive,...

Ben Franklin Closes Poetry Month with OSlam Reading

Ben Franklin Closes Poetry Month with OSlam Reading

May 4, 2018

Ben Franklin and MindFair Books hosted a small, intimate poetry reading featuring OSlam poets in their mid-store gazebo Monday. This wasn’t a regular performance with a large crowd and deafening applause, but more personal, as listeners sat beside speakers. The event was evidence of Ben Franklin’s efforts to overcome the alleged college and town divide. The reading, held in this particular space, welcomed students into the town, creating a warm atmosphere through a shared love of poetry. The s...

OSLAM Poets Present Grand Slam, Select 2018 CUPSI Team

Julia Peterson, Arts & Culture Editor

December 8, 2017

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry, Recent Stories

Poets of OSLAM, the College’s slam poetry team, convened for their biggest performance of the semester, the Grand Slam, in Dye Lecture Hall Saturday night. The Slam, which featured performances from ten student poets, was not only a moment to showcase these poets’ work to the wider student community — it was also a competition. The poets were vying for a spot on Oberlin’s College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational team, which will travel to Temple University in Philadelphia this April to compete at the national level. This year’s CUPSI team will be formed by College sophomore Zite Ezeh, College junior Sarah Ridley, and OSLAM co-presidents and College juniors Hanne Williams-Baron and Deborah Johnson. College fi...

Seven Poets to Vie for Coveted CUPSI Spots

Seven Poets to Vie for Coveted CUPSI Spots

December 9, 2016

OSLAM will hold its annual Grand Slam in the Cat in the Cream Saturday at 8 p.m., showcasing an art form steeped in resistance and empowerment to conclude what has been an emotionally and politically fraught semester for many. Poetry slams are the competitive art of performed poetry, putting dual focus on both written and performed expression. Seven poets of different experience levels and undeniable skill will read and perform their work in front of a live audience, competing for space on the ...

Project Unbound Combats Human Trafficking With Fundraiser

Brendan Eprile

October 28, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Music

Over 1,200 children have been rescued by The Human Trafficking Collaborative of Lorain County in the past 10 years. To raise money for its cause and increase awareness, student-run anti-human-trafficking organization Project Unbound’s 3rd Annual Voices Against Human Trafficking gathering will bring together various on-campus arts groups in hopes of making an impact. Tomorrow’s event, taking place at 7:30 p.m. in First Church’s Meeting Hall, seeks to accomplish its goals through the avenue of art. The evening will feature performances by OSlam, Pitch Please and The Obertones. College junior and chair of Project Unbound Sarah Blum has organized Voices Against Human Trafficking since its inception. She envisioned a...

Johnson Converts Insults to Compliments in Poetry

Louise Edwards, Arts Editor

February 26, 2016

Filed under ARTS, Literature & Poetry

Editor’s note: This article contains a racial slur. Spoken word poet Janae Johnson opened her performance Saturday at the Cat in the Cream with a “basketball poem.” She filled the room with empowering lines: “She’ll be picked last, but she’ll outshoot the entire team” and “He mad — she on the sixth grade team as a fifth grader.” While slam poetry can often be emotionally draining because of its heavy themes, Johnson’s piece, which focused on the achievements of Black female athletes, set a tone of success and triumph. “She win,” the closing line of the poem, was a theme that resonated throughout the evening. Johnson herself has gained much recognition within the slam community. Original...

OSLAM Switches Focus with Love-Centric Slam

OSLAM Switches Focus with Love-Centric Slam

February 19, 2016

The night before Valentine’s Day, the Cat in the Cream filled with excited OSLAM fans. The large audience spilled onto the floor; friends huddled in from the cold with coffee and cookies. OSLAM is best known for its gripping political and emotional poetry, but the group’s Feb. 13 performance focused on love and positivity. In keeping with the romantic theme, the group also held a “Date a Poet” raffle where, for $1, audience members could win the chance to go on a friend date with their favorite...

OSlam Sponsors Kai Davis to Support Poets of Color

OSlam Sponsors Kai Davis to Support Poets of Color

October 2, 2015

OSlam, Oberlin’s slam poetry team and club will welcome writer and performer Kai Davis for a night of spoken word poetry Saturday night. Davis is a Creative Writing and African-American Studies major at Temple University, and her work has been featured at the San Francisco Opera House, The Kimmel Center, The Temple Performing Arts Center and on CNN. Additionally, the young poet was crowned the National Brave New Voices Grand Slam Champion in 2011 and ranked second in the nation at the Youth...

Feature Photo: The Conductor

Feature Photo: The Conductor

September 25, 2015

College senior Colin Seikel, performing under the moniker The Conductor, strums his guitar while singing a song from his new album, Blastoff. Seikel teamed up with OSlam poet and fellow College senior B.J. Tindal for a poetry and music showcase at the Cat in the Cream this past Wednesday night. Seikel, whose music is defined by his wide vocal range and radio-friendly acoustic chord progressions, kept audience members cheering with his charismatic personality. In a unique move that crossed typical ...

Feature Photo: OSlam

Feature Photo: OSlam

May 8, 2015

College sophomore Annika Hansteen Izora passionately delivers a spoken word poem at OSlam’s final slam showcase. The showcase was a cumulative display of all the hard work that OSlam members have invested in creating a repertoire of moving, powerful poetry. Poets reprised old favorites and presented fresh material at the event, which took place in Third World lounge on Friday at 8 p.m. The team has emphasized the importance of giving precedence to marginalized voices, including but not limited...

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