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Slam Poetry

Poetry has always been experimented with. However, these experimental forms barely ever last long, after the period it is made in has passed. But experimentation is always encouraged. A notably new form, slam poetry, is gathering quite a stir in the literary arena.

Slam poetry is postmodern performance poetry, a form of spoken word performed at a competitive poetry event, called a slam, at which poets perform their own poems. It's different because a poet has to rely on his or her communication abilities. Connecting with the audience is a big part in a slam, as the audience decides the winner.

Beginning in the mid 90s, slam poetry became more and more associated with political and urban issues. A common misconception that people have is that slam poetry is basically a kind of freestyle rap battle. Slam poetry, first and foremost is not a battle; certainly not one where the opposition has to be ridiculed with inadequate words for merit.

One of the goals of slam poetry is to challenge the authority of anyone who claims to know absolutely what literary quality is. So, when listening to, or reading, slam poetry, expect every poetic rule to be broken.

Slam poetry and other forms of spoken word poetry can be traced back to the Beat Generation of the 1950s, which was basically challenging conformity. However, the oral tradition of poetry stretches back much farther than that, predating written poetry, as spoken language predates the written word. Therefore, slam poets can be said to be participating in a modern continuation of an ancient art.

Other forms of spoken word poems are jazz poetry, coffeehouse readings, hip-hop battles etc. For the best place to read a few of the best in this genre I suggest www.deviantart.com; membership is free, and is not required for browsing. You may also try www.gotpoetry.com.

Some slam poets have gone on to publish popular books of poetry, but I highly doubt if you'll find them in Bangladesh.

By Ahsan Sajid

Marie Curie School, celebrating International Mother Language Day

3rd March 2007. The morning was quite different as all of nature was gleaming freshly under a soft warm sun, just after having a sudden spring shower for the last couple of days.

The green premises of Marie Curie School was gemmed with new leaves and flowers on trees and carpeted with fallen buds and petals from above. However the most showcased part was the on-going cultural show. This was due to the prize distribution for several competitions held on the celebration of 21st February. The event was honoured by the presence of chief guest Dr Halima Khatun, a glorified soldier of the Language Movement.

Other special guests included renowned poet Asad Chowdhury and well reputed professor Dr Shamsher Ali. The honourable guests distributed the prizes among the winners of junior, middle and senior groups respectively for the hand-writing competition of classes I & II, poetry recitation of classes III, IV & V, essay competition of classes VI, VII & VIII.

The guests were overwhelmed with the beautiful recitation and songs of the young students on our victorious Language Movement. The guests enthralled the audience with speeches on language and the Language Movement. Dr Shamsher Ali, with all his reasons, justified what Napoleon said, that one can live more lives by knowing more languages.

He also spoke about the similarities between the anatomical terms in Italian and Bengali. It was nice to hear poet Asad Chowdhury as he mentioned how all languages become rich by getting words from others. Without doubt Dr Halima's atrocious experiences of the Language Movement captivated everyone’s attention.
In all it was a well-organised and much enjoyed event.

By Sultana Sheherzad

Science at its best

When 12-year-olds start making jewellry boxes with recycled paper and begin building ultra cool remote control racing cars with simple motors and household light switches, you know that the Science God has come down on Earth. I'm talking about the Scholastica School science fair held on Saturday March 10. I had the enormous privilege of being able to cover this interesting event and see so many students give their best to display the wonders of science.

There were around 69 project displays reflecting the academic content of their science curriculum. The students were as creative and innovative as they could possibly be and presented a huge variety of diverse projects.

These included projects like “Model of a remote control car”, “Cloning Dolly the Sheep”, “Recycled Paper”, “Pollution”, “Overload Detector”, etc by students from Class V; and “Windmill Station”, “HCV & Liver Disorder”, etc by students from Class IX.

Some students from Class XII dissected a frog, and you could actually see its heart beating. Another memorable project by the same class was “Hologram: A 3-D picture is captured under a Helium-Neon Laser Light”. Students of Class XI displayed projects like “Ferrofluid”, “Submarine”, “Radio Transmitters and Sound Amplifier” (they are actually planning to start Radio Scholastica!), and “Global Warming” and gave excellent presentations. Parents and students from different schools in Dhaka also attended the Science Fair.

It was a very well-organised event and hats of to the students for their wonderful display of hard work and talent.

By Nuzhat Binte Arif

Disability is not a curse

It was said, that every parent should let their children know about Emmanuel's Gift because it will change the way their children think about what they can do and can be. And that's how I started knowing Emmanuel Osofu Yeboah, who was both born and abandoned in Ghana, West Africa.

When Emmaneul was born without a tibia in his right leg, his father, disgraced by his son's disability walked out on his family. Emmanuel's mother Comfort Yeboah, was advised to kill her son or send him to the streets to beg. But rather than surrender to society’s perception that a disabled baby is considered a curse, Comfort Yeboah enrolled him in school and taught him to transcend all limitations. At school, Emmanuel was ostracized. But it was when he was turned away from the soccer team that he decided to take a stand. Earning a dollar a day shining shoes, he bought his own ball and offered it to his classmates on one condition- they had to include him on the team. With this small step, Emmanuel began a mission that would last forever.

Before Comfort Yeboah passed away, she taught her son that disability does not mean inability. In the years after her death, he felt an increasing desire, if not duty to share that message. So, he made that fateful decision to honor his mother by reaching as many of Ghana's citizens as possible.

Emmanuel decided to ride a bicycle across the country. Over several months he rode 380 miles through Ghana, wearing a bright red shirt that read "The Pozo," Ghanaian slang for a disabled person. Along the way he stopped to meet villagers, speak with disabled children, and give speeches to dignitaries, church leaders, and the ever-present media. He was not afraid to speak out against the government's policy on the disabled, and politely, but consistently requested that the disabled be given the same respect as the able-bodied. As a result, Emmanuel became a one-named celebrity in Ghana.

Emmanuel's achievements did not go unnoticed. He has received many awards in honor for an athlete who has overcome physical, mental, societal, or cultural challenges to excel in their sport. With all the reward money he created the Emmanuel Education Fund in Ghana and has committed to putting disabled students through school each year and has helped organize the distribution of hundreds of wheelchairs to his countrymen. His actions have won him the respect of fellow Ghanaians as well as the respect of King Osagyefuo, who has adopted Yeboah's cause.

Now able to stand on two feet due to an operation and a high-tech prosthetic donated by a Rehabilitation Institute, he works vigorously to ensure that opportunities are available to all physically challenged Ghanaians.

Emmanuel Yeboah's rise from a one-legged orphan to a sure-footed athlete and disabled rights activist was the kind of human tale that begged to be told. I want his experience to help change others' lives in a positive way. He has taught me many things but mainly the meaning of the word perseverance. Never give up.

By Mobashra Ather


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