Locals explore feminism through poetry

Spoken word event to break down barriers around the F-word


Courtesy of Bekah MillerMacPhee

University of Idaho psychology professor Traci Craig performing at a past “F-Word Live Poetry Slam” event.

ANNA YOUNG, Evergreen reporter

The F-Word Live Poetry Slam, founded in 2006 by a student group, has been run by the University of Idaho Women’s Center since 2012. This spoken word event is designed to introduce ideas about feminism, “the F-word,” and what it means to various people.

“It’s breaking down some barriers around this word that can be so loaded,” said Bekah MillerMacPhee, co-MC of this year’s event and one of the original founders. “I’d like this event to welcome everybody, even those curious about what feminism looks like to other people.”

MillerMacPhee went on to explain that the event is technically not a poetry slam because there is no competitive aspect. The event is intended to be inclusive to newcomers, and a competition might discourage first-time performers. Instead, the F-Word Live Poetry Slam takes a more conversational approach.

“Students, staff and community members can come together and talk about why they need feminism,” MillerMacPhee said. “It’s an event that really seems to connect people.”

This connective aspect comes not just from the topic itself, but from audience participation as well. It’s not uncommon to hear a “Hell yeah!” or two from the crowd during a performance.

“There’s lots of audience-performer interaction,” MillerMacPhee said, “but no one is ever put on the spot.”

The $5 student fee, which includes WSU students, is new to the event. Previously, there was only a non-student fee to cover the event, but this year, the proceeds will go to Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse. ATVP, founded in 1980, provides services to victims of relationship violence.

“The F-Word Live Poetry Slam has been growing and gaining attention in the past few years,” MillerMacPhee said. “It makes sense to donate to an organization that’s contributing to gender equality in a very real way.”

There will be free parking available near the Pitman Center. The event is at 7 p.m. today at UI’s Bruce M. Pitman Center International Ballroom. The event costs $5 for students with an ID and $10 for non-students.

“I think most people would agree we’re living in a pretty divisive climate right now,” said MillerMacPhee. “We have people come who identify as a feminist, and others who show up out of curiosity as to what that means. Regardless of what you think, you are welcome.”