Frisch Junior Anny Safier Wins Poetry Slam’s ‘Best Performance’

May 17, 2018

When Yeshivat Frisch junior Anny Safier stepped up to the poetry slam podium at SAR on May 8, something was different. Unlike, the rest of the participants, Safier carried no sheet of paper or smartphone with her. In addition, Safier, who is legally blind, noted that there hadn’t been time to print her compositions on the Braille printer at Frisch, so she recited her poems from memory and went on to win the Best Presentation award.

Each slam participant had to prepare two original pieces: one free verse referencing windows and the other to do with fire, in Haibun format (think prose, with a Haiku at the very end). Safier’s Haibun, “A Question of Faith,” connected faith to the theme of fire, while her free verse, “In Front and Behind the Eye’s View,” used windows to explore the duality of sight versus imagination in the mind’s eye:

“…Stuck behind the wall with a stained glass picture/All I can see is a blurred design obscuring what lies beyond./I hear the sounds of people indulging in the wonders of their activities./They stare at the portrait, but do not care for what is behind it….While I get stared at for my blurred eyes and different behaviors, there is a small image of what/I have hidden from them./In my confined area, I create my own window in to a world of endless ideas…As I begin to open my window to show my ideas to others, the stained glass picture fades from the wall and the two worlds live in harmony.” -Anny Safier

“The poems were the most personal I’ve ever written,” said Safier, who developed a love for writing and dramatic performance this year. I wanted to do a lot more with how I think of lyrics and I figured I’d work on writing. I realized it was a way I could get my creativity out.”

Poetry slams are a way for Safier to combine both interests. “It just made me feel so good that I was able to combine my writing and my acting and nothing stopped me,” concluded Safier, noting how special it was for all three Frisch students who participated to move on to the finals. “It felt good to be there when we made history.”