The Lakota Nation Invitational is not just for athletes, but aesthetes as well. An aesthete, if you are wondering, is someone who loves the arts, poetry, culture and nature.
This year marks the fourth annual poetry slam at LNI.
Lakota student poet Wiyaka reads during the third round of the poetry slam at the 40th annual Lakota Nation Invitational.
Nine high school poets from across South Dakota read their work during two score keeping rounds. Only four poets advanced to the third round. But, as was so often noted, poetry isn’t about scoring or numbers.
Marcus is from Allen, South Dakota. He says poetry has a stereotype of being boring and for the emotional and depressed teenager.
“That’s how I first went into it, but I feel like people should be more open minded because poetry has grown to be a movement of social rights and that’s really awesome and people don’t get to see that side of poetry very often," Marcus says. "So, if they really start doing it and get into it then you shatter all your misconceptions about poetry and it’s actually really cool.”
About forty people attended the poetry slam this year.
Senri from Kyle, South Dakota. She says poetry makes you feel good.
“For anyone who would like really like to do poetry I would encourage them to do it. And even if they think that their poetry is just complete garbage they should keep doing it because you never know who thinks it’s good and who thinks it’s bad,” Senri says.
The Lakota Nation Invitational started off as a basketball tournament, but has evolved into an event that challenges wit, athleticism and creativity. The event takes place in Rapid City through this weekend.
Some of the poems from this year’s LNI Poetry Slam contest below: