Writing poetry is, and has always been, an outlet for expressing emotions and opinions; it takes creativity to mold a poem and bravery to put those words to a page. The act of taking that poetry and performing it on stage as slam poetry brings another element to the poet’s writing. Poet Brian “Omni” Dillon’s performance on Thursday Oct. 25, with help from Geneseo Poets’ Society, certainly didn’t disappoint.
Dillon’s nearly two-hour performance in Newton 201 was so exuberant that it had to be moved to Newton 202 so that it didn’t upset the presidential debate going on next door. Over the course of 13 poems, Dillon showed a strong range and left no controversial topic unexplored in his gorgeously crafted poetry.
Dillon said that he believes his poetry is “topical,” and he is “expressing frustration [and] responding to things going on in the world.”
In one stanza, he talked about his birthday being around Columbus Day and jokingly compared vegetarians to Jaws, and the next, he suddenly became serious and poignantly expressed feelings on love, religion and family.
Dillon said he tries to do more personal poetry - one of the high-lights of the night came from a beautiful poem about his relationship with his father.
Dillon told a classic tale of his introduction to slam poetry: He fell in love with a girl who performed, and she took him to a competition where she promptly beat him. After that, he kept going back “just so I could beat her,” he said.
Dillon graduated from SUNY New Paltz with a degree in English literature, which he said helped give him a background when he began writing poetry.
Geneseo Poets’ Society opened and closed the show with incredibly impressive performances that had even Dillon snapping along with the crowd. Performers included sophomore John Otruba, senior Patches Burke, sophomore Sarah Diaz, senior Meghan Moore and junior Joshua Bauscher.
Dillon is the fourth-ranked slam poet in the world and is a member of the slam poetry team at the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe in New York City, where he participates in weekly slams.
Last year, Dillon and his teammates finished in second place at the National Poetry Slam. Dillon is also a professor of performance poetry at NYU’s Gallatin School, and in December 2011 he published his debut novel, Eat The Rich.