By Cristina Corriveau
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – The Madison Literary Society of Camden County College will host Poetic Idol at 6 p.m. May 8 in the CIM Auditorium.


Poetic Idol flyers are hanging around the Blackwood campus. By Cristina Corriveau, CCC Journalism Program

Poetic Idol is a competition in which authors recite pieces of poetry or short fiction they have written.

“The ordinary conduct of modern society gives us few opportunities to inflict our poetry to others,” Literary Society Adviser Keith O’Shaughnessy stated. “I believe the panel offers useful advice. It’s an actually very warm, even rollicking environment.”

About 20 poets will participate in Poetic Idol. One of them is 19-year-old Camden County College student Julia (Jay) Rios of Pennsauken.

“Everyone can benefit some way or another when reading or hearing poetry, especially when being presented from the original poet,” Rios said. “Whether it connects with someone or simply sounds pretty, poetry is for everyone.”

Rios will be reading this poem, which he wrote in his junior year of high school and titled “Remember:”

“Padre do you remember the time you locked me in this secluded jail cell of my mind

As your deluded illusion to fix my confusion was through the conclusion of forced on seclusion

As your disciplinary words acted as my chains trying to fix this child’s masculine brain

And out of the jail bars in my head all I could see is your world of cisgendered hetero normality”

Rios described the poem as part of a letter he used when coming out to his father as transgender.

“I usually don’t write poetry out of things like love or romance as most may correspond poetry with. I find anger and longing or anything with a strong emotional vibe, mostly not happy, and it plays out in my poems as a sad story,” Rios said. “When I have something to complain about and a logical explanation as to why I can complain about it, that’s when I write poetry. My poetry is always about the hardships of oppression and unacceptance usually faced by me or a general community, which includes my journey as a transgender person of color.”

Camden County College English major Gionni Lee Johnson won a previous edition of Poetic Idol.

“I started writing to express my feeling to what I endured at a young age such as death, addicted family members and racial discrimination,” Johnson stated. “I think that writers benefit the most seeing different styles at use and if they listen both to performers and judges, we all get great critique, which will only better us in the future as writers.”

At this year’s Poetic Idol, Johnson plans to recite a poem called “Triple A,” a piece he has been working on for more than a year. He said he hopes many people will attend the event.

“Winning is no longer a want anymore,” Johnson said. “I look for growth when performing.”

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