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LOHS students and alums open up


Readers share their pain and joy during poetry slam

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Poetry slam organizer Casey Lum shares her work.Translating emotions from the page to the spoken word was the challenge before local teens at the Lake Oswego Public Library this Tuesday.

And, they rose to it.

Lake Oswego High School sophomore Casey Lum invited her classmates, LOHS alumni and the public to a poetry slam — the first one that wasn’t just for the school but open to any poet. Poetry slams are not recitations but powerful orations of a writer’s original work.

Three teens tapped the courage in their hearts and shared their pain, joy, fears and hopes with a crowd of more than a dozen people.

Lum, who will become an LOHS Poetry Club creative director this fall, was among the trio of readers, giving the gathering a taste of her writing with “Release,” in which she touches on her sleepless nights.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Brennan Heller was the LOHS Poetry Club president.

“Insomnia is my obstacle, my adversity,” Lum read.

Class of 2013 LOHS graduate Brennan Heller offered up a strong delivery of “My Little Sister,” “For Those That Wish They Talked to That Girl in English Class Before Graduation” and “Text Messages,” in which he details a complex relationship with his mother.

“Mom I really do love you, but you’re making me push you away/With every text message you send like a reminder of why you’re not here … with me,” read Heller, a former LOHS Poetry Club president.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego High School graduate Brennan Heller read three poems at the poetry slam.

Laker sophomore Daniel Vogel voiced “The Needle Amongst the Grass” and “Anxious Fiction.”

“Can a man of perspective ever come to respect himself?” begins Vogel’s “Anxious Fiction.”

Many stayed to discuss the event, munching on cookies.

Overall, Lum was satisfied with the poetry slam she organized, except, she said, “I wish we had more poets.”

Recent LOHS graduates Alena Imamura, Luke Marshall and Ben Pingrey enjoyed the music and soul of the poetry. Marshall said poetry is so different from other forms of expression, “more like a stream of consciousness. It’s just thoughts, thoughts, thoughts.”

Pingrey said poetry teaches you more when it's about those you know.

“It gives you an insight into people that you don’t normally get,” he said.

Imamura felt the same way.

“It’s definitely a different insight, hearing people’s feelings instead of having them tell you how they feel,” she said.by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Recent Lake Oswego High School graduates Luke Marshall and Alena Imamura listen to teen poets orate their written works.

The group also discussed college plans.

Lum said the Poetry Club will lose a lot of talent now that Heller has graduated.

He will attend the University of Oregon on a full-ride scholarship, and he is never afraid to embark upon any adventure.

As he writes in “For Those That Wish”: “Fear is a prison, and confidence is the key.”


Learn more

For more information about the LOHS Poetry Club, email English teacher Julie Davis at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..