Ask a Slam Poet: Nicole Tyler
by Brian Hin ('09, MBA '12)
In addition to being a graduating senior and a student employee for both the Alumni House and the Writing Center, Nicole Tyler (’18) is an accomplished slam poet who was profiled in the 2016 Fall Westminster Review magazine as a sophomore. We wanted to check in with Nicole to see what they are up to now that their time at Westminster is coming to a close.
Catch us up on your accomplishments in slam poetry since your feature in the Westminster Review.
“Since the article, I’ve continued writing poetry and competing. Most recently, I inherited the title of Slam Master, which means I run my own slam poetry events in the community. I still run the Westminster Slam that meets every week on Thursdays. I also coach for the national’s team and the Collegiate Union Poetry Slam (CUPC) team.”
Can you tell us about the Sundance story with Nick Offerman?
“In January, I was pulled into an open-live audition during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. I went into it not knowing what to expect and ended up being one of three people selected to perform. Two others and I were the live component at the end of a virtual reality piece that was being showcased. It was directed by actress and director Maria Bello and we did a weekend of performances. The first performance being at the women’s Respect Rally up in Park City. Nick Offerman was schedule to speak immediately after us and he saw us perform. He was so moved by our performance that he felt inclined to get our email addresses from Maria to tell us how much he enjoyed it. It was a really cool and touching email.”
What’s on the horizon for you?
“After graduating, I’ll be staying in Salt Lake long enough to compete with the national’s team. I’ll attend nationals the second week of August in Chicago, Illinois. Once that’s complete, I’ll go directly to St. Paul, Minnesota, where I plan to get established, potentially gain residency, and apply for master of fine arts schools.”
How do you feel about some of your performances going viral?
“It’s weird but really cool. I get messages from people I don’t know or people sending me comments that I haven’t spoken to in forever. It’s cool to me that people are finding value in what I have to say and are willing to share it with all of their friends. It’s definitely different getting used to being recognized by random people in public. Mostly, people recognize my voice.”
Now that you’re almost finished with your degree at Westminster College, how do you feel it has contributed to your success?
“Aside from supporting my success in poetry, performances, and competing, Westminster has also helped me get my work published repeatedly; my first draft of my senior thesis was published. If it wasn’t for the work I was able to do with Lance Newman, dean of arts and sciences, and the opportunity to do a directed study, many of my poems that have been published would have never existed. I’m incredibly grateful for that interaction, which helped me realize that I could be successful on and off of the page.”
Anything else you’d like to share?
"I want to recognize and thank those that have helped me succeed.
Kayla Smith: for letting me miss work for poetry and coming out to support me.
Conor Bentley: He’s genuinely invested and cares. It means a lot to me.
Lance Newman: I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did at Westminster without his support and help during my directed study program.
Tamara Stevenson: She was always supportive of me and checking in with me to see how I was doing.
Natasha Saje: For helping me with my current thesis."
Is there a way we can follow you in your slam poetry endeavors?
"Yes, you can follow my Facebook page—TaneshaNicole Poetry—and connect with me there. I’m also working on a YouTube channel, but for now, Facebook is the best way to stay up to date."
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster College’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.