"The poem I performed in the talent show, the opening of it talks about when I got anti-Semitic hate mail on the internet and it was really shaking. It stayed with me for a while and years later I actually ended up writing that poem. That was just in reaction to the fact that Jews are kind of badass and we get bashed down a lot, but we stand back up and that’s something I’m really passionate about. That was actually my first real poetry slam that I ever wrote and what got me into poetry slam.
I started writing slam poetry in my senior year of high school. This poem is actually a very old poem but it just felt really apropos in light of all the antisemitism that's been happening recently, because when things get tough it is really hard to remember that we are tougher. I was talking to my mom and she was saying that with all the attacks that have been happening and all the hate that's been happening it might be good to bring it back and to remind people that we are not as weak as people think we are. We stay strong and we continue and we are a lot more powerful than we think we are and than other people think we are.
I think, for me, poetry in general is an outlet. I can always just feel my brain is calmer when I get something down on paper. It takes the words out from buzzing inside my head and putting them down in front of me and makes them cohesive and something that I can see and process. It's become a really important part of my life, because it functions in a way almost like a therapy for me where everything in the world is always so cacophonous, and this is like peace and calm within the storm and that I find really powerful."
- Eli Azizollahoff, SCW ‘20, English Journalism Major, Teaneck, NJ