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An award-worthy performance by Ciara Jones

The big prize winner of the Homecoming Poetry Slam

Jamie Heathcote

Contributing Writer

Taking home the first place prize from the Homecoming Poetry Slam during her first semester here at UMBC, Ciara Jones touches on her experience performing here and her passion for spoken word poetry.

At this year’s Homecoming Poetry Slam, students shared their artistic abilities that fuel imagination and express feelings through a collection of words. Coming in first place and winning $200 was Ciara Jones, junior social work major. By using a spoken word form of poetry, Jones presented the audience with a performance she calls “Silence.”

On “Silence,” she said “It has to do with how we sometimes use silence as a coward’s garment and we don’t always voice what we’re thinking or what we want out of the fear of being rejected, or the fear of simply being wrong. I want to encourage people to speak out.” Judging by her award for her performance, her message may have made the impact she was hoping for.

Jones, a new transfer student from CCBC, said the Poetry Slam “was a different atmosphere than what I’m used to, but it was awesome to be in the presence of such amazingly talented writers. It didn’t feel like a competition to me, it was just us all speaking out together.” For Jones, it was an experience to embrace her passion rather than a competition for the number one spot.

Jones described her most memorable performance as a piece she performed when she lived in Germany. “I was asked to perform a piece for Holocaust Remembrance Day — an event the Army was holding,” she said. Being thankful for this opportunity, it also affected her in a great way.

“I hadn’t truly known the power of words until after I presented that poem and talked with those who had heard it. [With the] impressions and impacts [it made], that’s when I figured God had some stuff brewing with this poetry thing. I’ve stuck with it since then,” she said. While also embracing her faith, today she is involved in a Christian group here known as Anomaly.

Jones said “What I admire about most poets is how they provide such descriptive detail. When it comes to my style of poetry, I like getting to the point and I think that’s okay. I have a love for poetry that’s relatable and understandable to the non-poet.” She strives to reach out to her audience in meaningful ways.

One can’t help but notice Jones’s blatant love for poetry. Works of spoken word poetry have impacted and progressed her life, and she hopes to offer the same positive feelings to her audiences through her performances.