British Columbia

Slam poetry and soccer a fine couplet for Surrey Grade 5 student

Slam poetry and soccer might not have a lot in common, but Riya Arora punched her ticket to New York by excelling at both.

Riya Arora part of a program called SCORES that combines footy and free verse

Slam poet Riya Arora performs

7 years ago
Duration 1:04
Grade 5 student Riya Arora performs an original poem about soccer. The slam poet is headed to New York for an international competition.

Some soccer players are described as being "poetry in motion" when they're on the field.

Riya Arora, a Grade 5 student at Cedar Hills Elementary School, could be described in such a way — but her most poetic performances come off the field.

She's in a program called Canada SCORES, which combines, of all things, soccer and slam poetry.

After playing soccer on Mondays, she learns to write poems and perform them at poetry slams.

"Poetry, it really helps you in grammar, 'cause I've really improved in my grades," Arora told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko. "It's just fun to be expressing your feelings on a piece of paper."

And on Saturday, Arora flew to New York for a poetry slam because she wowed judges in regional slams in the Lower Mainland.

'I'm ready. I'm prepared. I can win it'

Slam poetry is a type of performance poetry that is similar in ways to hip-hop, and involves judges giving poets scores from one to 10.

Arora's father, Sanjay Arora, says slam poetry naturally appealed to his daughter because she's so competitive.

"Any program happening in the school, she wants to participate," he said. "Even in our own community functions if there's any sort of dancing or singing she wants to be there. And 99.9 per cent [of the time], she wins it."

Aroroa is the only "poet-athlete" from Canada who will be competing in the 10th annual America Scores National Poetry Slam, and she says she's up for the challenge.

"I'm not nervous to go to New York. I'm ready. I'm prepared. I can win it," she said.

The poetry slam in New York begins Monday.

With files from On The Coast

To hear the full story, click the audio labelled: Slam poetry and soccer a fine couplet for Surrey Grade 5 student