Ichabod wins National Poetry Award

Matt Spezia holding the slam artist of the year award with Blaq Ice. Blaq Ice nominated Spezia for the award.

Ryan Thompson

The National Poetry Awards named Matt Spezia, junior marketing and entrepreneurship major, slam artist of the year.

Spezia travelled to Hickory Hills, Illinois to accept the award and perform at the National Poetry Awards’ seventh annual award ceremony Sept. 3.

Troy Lewis founded the National Poetry Awards as a means of recognizing the talent and leadership of poets and spoken word artists throughout the United States. Popular vote determines the winner of each award after a committee narrows down the nominees to four finalists.

The awards are community focused and a number of categories specifically recognize socially conscious artists. Such awards include multi-cultural poet of the year, religious poet of the year and the Troy Poet Lewis community outreach award.

Blaq Ice, a member of the artist and activist organization, P.O.E.T., nominated Spezia for his competitive success over the past year.

“In slam poetry, you do keep track of points, so you have an average and then how you did in national level slams,” Spezia said. “I was very fortunate this year.”

Spezia was also nominated for slam organizer of the year, for creating and hosting the Washburn After Reading slam held monthly at The Burger Stand.

“That award focuses on people who are trying to build slam communities,” Spezia said. “You have to be PSI certified, which we are. Basically those are the people who make the rules of the game. It had to have been in existence for more than six months but under a year, so they were really looking for who’s building scenes.”

Spezia represents Topeka in the Kansas-based poetry team, Nique Poetry, and offers a chapbook and CD of original work for sale.

“I’m still incredibly grateful for the people who have allowed me to do this,” Spezia said. “Without them I’m not able to go to these amazing places and do all of this.”