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Geekin' at speakin'

Lisa Wei '26

May 5, 2023

On Saturday, April 29, the Mercersburg community gathered in the Edwards Room for the Spring Spoken Word event, a Mercersburg tradition where students, faculty, and even alumni come together to hear performances of poetry, song, and verse.

Michele Poacelli, English Department Head, Writing Center Director, and one of the organizers of the evening, said, “Spoken Word is a great opportunity for members of our community to come out and express themselves through storytelling, poetry, and music.” She really enjoys how the Mercersburg community provides opportunities for these acts of expression, whether they be through rehearsed performances, such as the Spring Band Concert or a relaxed show like Spoken Word. “Seeing students coming out to showcase their raw talent is such an amazing act …especially since Spoken Word is an unrehearsed show, we get to see more of the authentic side of the performance,” Poacelli said.

Poacelli described the considerations of the planning. “The weather wasn’t really great this Saturday, so we planned to have Spoken Word take place indoors. However, the atmosphere and the vibe was still great. It’s also really exciting because Luther Kissam, a Mercersburg alumnus, came to host and read some of his own poems for Spoken Word,” she said. 

Luther Kissam V, a poet and writer, graduated from Mercersburg Academy in 2018. “I thought that there were so many unbelievable performances, and it was really rewarding seeing all the talent at Mercersburg this Spoken Word,” said Kissam. Along with hosting the event, Kissam performed two original poems, one of which came from his book, Have I Told You About My Superpowers, and the other one he wrote in his senior year about his high school girlfriend. “When Ms. Poacelli asked me if I’d read, I agreed right away. I also wanted to make people feel comfortable up here, seeing ‘Oh, he’s doing it, so I’ll do it too.’” Kissam said.

There were many performances that night, ranging from exciting poems to heartfelt songs. “I wanted other people to see what I create,” said Avallina Orfield ‘25, who sang her original song, “Untitled.” Fynn Poulsen ‘26, shared his poetry. “I really enjoy sharing the poetry that I write, and Spoken Word is a great opportunity to do that,” he said. 

The crowd was thrilled when Mikahel Martínez-Archo ‘25 performed an original song. “I was really nervous because it was the first time I sang to a microphone. However, I felt more confident when all my friends shouted my name and reassured me in the beginning,” he says. Adam Mardini ‘24 dedicated his guitar piece to his friend who was unable to join him that night due. “I have wanted to play the song ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd for a really long time. This was the perfect opportunity for me to share my music,” he says. English teacher Ryan Tyree and Coco Zhai ‘24 sang a duet on “I’m with You” by Avril Lavigne. “It was a great opportunity to collaborate with students and continue playing music,” said Tyree. 

The audience really enjoyed the Spoken Word program. “It’s probably one of my favorite events that Mercersburg does. I just love seeing my classmates showcase their talents in writing, singing, and playing instruments,” says Greta Lawler ‘23. “I came over because I love to support my amazing friends, who are all super talented,” said William Tutt ‘25.

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