Purdue Northwest College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences hosts free event as part of Black History Month observance
Chicago-based underground slam poet Rachel “Raych” Jackson will join participants from throughout Northwest Indiana and the Chicago area at a dynamic poetry slam from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Purdue University Northwest College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (CHESS) Art Gallery, 7011 Indianapolis Blvd., Hammond.
The event, titled “Truth is on its way,” is part of the observance of Black History Month by PNW’s CHESS, Building Community Through the Arts, and Odyssey arts outreach programs. The poetry slam is free and open to the public.
“As humanities educators, we are proud to bring this type of programming to the community and to give area youth opportunities for creative expression,” CHESS Dean Elaine Carey said. “This is our second poetry slam, and we are gratified by the overwhelming response from area high schools, our PNW students, faculty and staff, as well as individuals representing the ethnically and culturally diverse region served by the university.”
Last year’s poetry slam was packed to capacity, with more than 100 people cheering on the competitors. This year’s slam has been moved to a larger space in the recently relocated CHESS Art Gallery.
Inspired by the energy she witnessed at last year’s poetry slam, Judy Jacobi, PNW assistant vice chancellor of the University Art Collection and Special Programs, is serving on the organizing committee for the poetry slam and contributing to the cash prizes available for this year’s participants.
“My husband and I were floored by the sheer brilliance and originality of the competitors, most of whom were high school students,” Jacobi stated. “Helping provide the awards is our way of recognizing notable talent in the region.”
Rachel “Raych” Jackson is an educator, poet and playwright. She has competed on numerous national teams and individual competitions. She was the 2017 National Underground Poetry Individual Competition champion and a 2017 Pink Door fellow, a writing retreat for writers of color. In October 2018 her latest play, “Emotions and Bots,” premiered at the Woerdz Festival in Lucerne, Switzerland. She co-created the monthly poetry show Big Kid Slam. Jackson’s work has been published by Poetry Magazine, The Rumpus, and 29Rooms through Refinery29, among others. She is working on her first collection of poems.
For more information about the CHESS Poetry Slam, visit the Building Community Through the Arts (BCTA) web page.