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Events | Featured | Arts and SciencesNovember 15, 2022

Barroso Wins Spanish Poetry Slam

Students from the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith conquered stage fright to throw down in the Department of World Languages’ first Spanish Poetry Slam, November 10 in the UAFS Windgate Theater. More than 120 students attended the slam, many of whom participated themselves. 

Jaylin Barroso and Dr. Lynda McClellanPsychology major Jaylin Barroso won the grand prize with her performance of Argentine poet Alfonsina Storni’s poem, “Tú me Quieres Blanca.”

Studio Art major Drew Clements and Spanish major Dwayne Loughridge won second and third place, respectively, with their interpretations of “Noche de Enero” by Rafael Alberto Arrieta and “Sembrador" by R. Olivares Figueroa.

The first-time event was such a success that Dr. Mary Sobhani, department head and associate professor of World Languages, said she hopes to hold a poetry slam every semester.

Poetry declamation finds its roots in ancient Greece, with a resurgence in the 18th century in Europe and Latin America. The students who participated were all beginning and intermediate Spanish students who won classroom competitions in poetry declamation. 

Declamation is an integral part of learning a second language, Sobhani said. 

“The American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages considers presentational communication to be an essential aspect of language acquisition and a key standard for world readiness,” she said. “Through the poetry declamations, our second-language learners are able to share their presentational communication skills with the greater campus and community.”

The benefit of the poetry slam is not just for students, Sobhani said.

“Not only do our students get to shine, but our community also gets to experience the beauty of poetry with which they themselves may be unfamiliar. It’s learning for everyone, Sobhani said. 

The poems recited were by famous Latin American and European poets. 


Other students who participated were:

  • Megan Brewer, performing "Dame la mano" by Gabriela Mistral
  • Gabriella-Noel Stokes, performing "La plaza tiene una torre" by Antonio Machado
  • Demonte Jamison, performing "Arte poética" by Vicente Huidobro
  • Paige Harris, performing "Hombre pequeñito" by Alfonsina Storni
  • Jenny Díaz, performing "Viento, agua, piedra," by Octavio Paz
  • Connor Swaim, performing "Cuadrados y ángulos" by Alfonsa Storni
  • Cameron Sprinkle, performing "Cultivo una rosa blanca" by José Martí
  • Evelyn Soriano, performing "Desde mi pequeña vida" by Margarita Carrera
  • Juliet Flanagan with "Lune Blanche" by Paul Verlaine