______ like a girl: UI poetry slam opens floor to discussion of feminism

click to enlarge Hear, see — Works by artists Renee Hill (“Uptight Guy” at top right) and“Pulling Myself Everywhere” (above) and Ashley Kuznia (top left) will be displayed as part of the poetry slam.
Hear, see — Works by artists Renee Hill (“Uptight Guy” at top right) and“Pulling Myself Everywhere” (above) and Ashley Kuznia (top left) will be displayed as part of the poetry slam.

By MICHELLE SCHMIDT

F-Word Live isn't about "that" f-word. It's about the other one: feminism.

Now in its third year, F-Word Live is a poetry slam that provides a venue for the community to express and explore issues relating to feminism. It takes place at 7 tonight at the University of Idaho.

While spoken word pieces focus on feminism, Bekah MillerMacPhee, assistant director for programs at the UI Women's Center, says there's a wide range of perspectives and experiences represented within that.

In the piece she's presenting, Jessy Forsmo-Schadid, a UI student, tells a story from high school when someone she respected called her a bitch. At the time, the term stung, but it means something different to her now. What she wrote for F-Word Live explores that term and how her feelings about it have changed over time.

"I've taken it and turned it into a powerful word," Forsmo-Schadid says. "It's a type of dog, and a dog can be fierce, scary - it can protect itself. So for me, it's a reclaiming kind of thing."

But the show is not just about negative gender experiences, transformed or not. MillerMacPhee says the spoken word pieces in the show explore a full range from trauma to positive experiences. It also includes pieces from men about the women in their lives and culture's narrow definitions of masculinity. Both campus and community members are sharing creative work at the event.

A poetry slam differs from a poetry reading, says MillerMacPhee, in that the spoken word (the poetic form presented at a poetry slam) is a specific style. The pieces tend to be direct and personal in nature and are presented in an energetic and passionate way.

"The delivery is what distinguishes spoken word from poetry reading. It's interactive - there's clapping and mmm-hmms at different points," MillerMacPhee says. "The mood is usually fun and energetic."

Visual art that explores feminist themes will be displayed in the lobby for viewing during the intermission of the hour-and-a-half show.

If You Go
What: F-Word Live Poetry Slam by the University of Idaho Women's Center and Feminist Led Activist Movement to Empower

When: 7 tonight

Where: Borah Theater of the UI Student Union Building, 709 Deakin Ave., Moscow

Cost: $5/general admission, free for UI students with ID

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