Young student launches slam poetry club

Story by Micaela Freeman | Staff Writer, Video by Meredith Aldis | Broadcast Reporter

The dreary weather did not stop performers from getting on the Common Grounds stage for open mic night on Wednesday. Despite being relocated to the side patio, Common Grounds’ open mic night proved to be a suitable atmosphere for Chicago native Liv Nortillo, who performed spoken word on behalf of her newly-founded slam poetry group, Ivory Lion Poetry.

Upon completion, Nortillo’s passionate performance warranted a lengthy applause, compelling many to react approvingly throughout the performance as well.

Nortillo said she founded Ivory Lion Poetry to allow people to come together and talk about spoken word and the effects it has on their lives.

Nortillo said she wants this group to not only gain an interest among Baylor students, but the Waco community as well.

“That’s what this is for, and I’m hoping that people will want to join to share their personal stories,” Nortillo said.

Nortillo said she wants the slam poetry group to be grounded in Christian-based principles — a reason for people to come together to share their stories, as well as their love for God.

“I think it’s really powerful when people share their stories,” Nortillo said. “I believe that the hard things in life don’t negate the goodness in God.”

Ivory Lion Poetry meets weekly at Common Grounds to discuss its group goals. Nortillo is the only member that consistently performs at Common Grounds open mic night, but she said the members of the group will perform in the future. Nortillo said she hopes her performances inspire listeners to know the truth about their identities and their worth.

“For me, it means the opportunity to speak truth to places where people have heard lies about who they are or what is possible for them,” she said.

Waco senior Dakota Henry said Ivory Lion Poetry encourages Baylor students to take advantage of the opportunities it offers as a group, and said the club has given him an outlet from his regular Baylor activities.

“For me, Ivory Lion Poetry has been an opportunity to have a more intentional platform to really hone in on my writing. It’s something I really enjoy,” Henry said.

Waco native and Texas State Technical College graduate Aaron Moldovan is also passionate about Ivory Lion Poetry and attended Wednesday’s open mic night at Common Grounds.

Moldovan said that he enjoys the passion Nortillo expels in her performances and that her poetry speaks volumes to him personally.

“She’s very impassioned in what she believes, in the poetry she writes. She just found that space and that Savior and, at the end, she offers that,” Moldovan said. “She would ask questions that would make you feel kind of special.”

Moldovan and Henry both said they are grateful that they are involved with Ivory Lion Poetry and with Nortillo, because they feel the opportunities it brings are applicable to their lives.

“Her poetry meant a lot,” Moldovan said. “But, the way she takes it and makes it applicable is what makes it great.”

Nortillo said she encourages anyone who enjoys writing about their passion for Jesus to join the Waco club and to find Nortillo at Common Grounds because she “practically lives there.”