by Katelyn Koehler
Slam poetry is an art form that I have found myself becoming increasingly fascinated with in recent years. It’s fervent realism and intense honesty can captivate even the most stubborn of audience members. So when I learned that Neil Hilborn, a YouTube famed slam poet, was coming to UNG, I knew I had to attend his performance.
Hilborn’s personable charm won over his audience quickly, and his performance was punctuated by jokes and life advice that created a relaxed and intimate atmosphere. His poem ‘OCD’ evoked laughs and gasps with its quirky wit, and stark silence with its brutal candor on the painful reality of mental illness. ‘The Future’ was uproariously funny, flowing smoothly from Hilborn’s mouth, and was appropriately accompanied by spastic movement and irreverent banter. Between poems and anecdotes, he urged the audience to love themselves and to believe that seeking professional help in the face of depression was strength rather than the cliché taboo it is often made to be.
After the performance Hilborn sold and signed copies of his books ‘Our Numbered Days’ and ‘Clatter’ in Hoag’s great room, taking the time to sincerely thank everyone for their attendance while speaking and snapping pictures with all who approached him. Neil Hilborn is not the type of speaker that UNG typically invites, as he is somewhat crude and unconventional, but he relayed some heartfelt messages and was thoroughly entertaining. Overall it was an incredibly inspiring and enjoyable evening filled with self-love and hilarity.