Featured TerPoets speaker Pages Matam opens by getting the audience’s energy up. Photo by Taylor Lewis

By Colby Smith

Staff Writer

Few poets attribute their interest in poetry to the Power Rangers, but D.C. slam poet and poetry teacher Pages Matam spoke plainly about the influence of the beloved children’s television show.  “I was ten years old,” Pages said. “One of the Rangers got this girl to fall in love with him by writing a poem and I thought, ‘What? That’s awesome.’”

Many years later, his passion for poetry has only intensified.

Pages was the featured speaker at this week’s TerPoets event in Dorchester Hall. He performed for nearly an hour at the event, which began with an open-mic segment.

Senior Brendan Kennedy, the host for the evening, kept the mood positive, laughing often and encouraging both new and old performers.

“Everything tonight is illustrious,” Kennedy joked, “So, if you perform tonight, you’re illustrious.”

Thirteen students performed, often reading their own compositions. The poems ranged from whimsical, like junior Samantha Reich’s “Candy Can,” to powerful, like freshman Sadie Echols’ “Crash,” a poem about lost faith in the wake of a fatal car accident.

Pages took to the stage after over an hour of student performances. He encouraged an intimate atmosphere.

“Ask me questions, clap, snap or yell ‘Hallelujah,’” he said.

The lively audience took him up on the offer. Snaps, claps and even the occasional cry of “Hallelujah” were often heard after Pages’ poetry.

Pages performed seven deeply personal poems. He began with “Medley of a Broken Woman,” which explored a complicated relationship with a former partner. He concluded with a new poem, about his father, entitled “A Cancerous Growth: Ashes to Ashes.” The poem begins in a middle school classroom with the teacher asking students what they want to be when they grow up.

“I wanted to answer, ‘a cigarette,’” Pages said. “Because it’s the only thing my father didn’t abandon.”

The evening was also filled with lighter moments. Pages constantly joked between his poems and performed an amusing poem about the former planet Pluto and how its planet-hood was stripped away.

Reich summed up the event: “His energy was electric.”

Pages hosts open-mic nights at the Busboys and Poets in Hyattsville on the second Thursday of every month. He can also be found on Twitter.

See more photos of the event on the The Writers’ Bloc Facebook page.

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