Last night’s slam was all about out of town guests, jaw-dropping poetry and the ladies! It was our annual event called the Rosie the Riveter Slam.
If you haven’t been to the slam in a while, we have this new thing we do to open the show. Our Slam Master Daemond Arrindell reads a poem with no introduction to get the audience’s attention, then he introduces the host. Usually he does a cover of another poet’s work. Last night he was reading a poem and I kept thinking, “Whose poem is this? This is gorgeous,” and it was his! Keep an eye on Daemond, he is crafting something in his poetry workshop.
The open mike featured some really interesting new voices and a surprise guest. Slam old-schooler Ms. Spelt from Vacouver, BC popped into town just to see the gang. He gave it up for the ladies with a poem about him mom and grandmother’s strength in blue collar jobs. Dain Michael Down, a slammer who moved here recently from New Jersey also did a poem in the open mike that I truly enjoyed. It was a complex love poem that managed to look at what it really means to choose love, beyond romantic love.
There was another surprise out-of-town guest in the house last night. J.W. Baz from Chicago was at the slam. Baz has a show this Friday (9pm, all-ages at Fremont Abbey) called “No one Can Fix You.” This is his first one-man show and all reports from Chicago indicate that it is outstanding.
Dain Michael Down has seen it and gives it two hearty thumbs up! Baz did a spotlight feature after the open mike and it was masterful. So, he starts off his set by beat boxing, humming a little and then saying, “revolution.” Then he stopped and said, “Wouldn’t it suck if I was really like that?” It was one of the most hilarious things I’ve seen at the slam in ages. Then he just killed two complex, story-based poems that were marvelously engaging. I’m looking forward to his show
Our feature last night was the astonishing Jeanann Verlee. Gushing begins now…WOW and HOLY WOW! She is off the charts. I think Jeanann did 5 pieces during her set and I quite honestly could not begin to choose a favorite. She has that ineffable ability of a great writer to take you by the hand, escort you out of your body and lead you to the scene she wants you to see. She’s like the Ghost of Christmas Past. I was fully present in each of her poems and the writing was exquisite. The way she ends a poem makes me want to eat all the pens in my house. On top of all that, her performance is incomparable. She has a unique style and uses it to forcefully reassure her audience that she is totally in control at all times. If her poems are a plane you are boarding, then she is the seasoned pilot telling you to sit back and enjoy the ride, we will be in Houston in no time. If you were foolish enough to ignore my advice and not come to the show last night, you can hear a sampling of Jeanann again at Baz’s show on Friday night.
The Rosie the Riveter Slam!!
sac: Hollis Wear
Hollis is not only an awesomely talented writer, but a jewel on stage. Amazing new poem about girls and guns. Hollis~ why do you have to write the poem that I wanted to write? Gorgeous!
1. Julie: A poem about (of all things) pockets. Yes, the ones on your jeans. This was a quirky and charming poem. I like Julie’s style.
2. Sara Brickman: Her new poem about Detroit. I think I raved in my last slam blog about this poem. Sonya Renee would say, “this poem is the business.” They are going to take apart the furniture when they hear this poem at WOWps.
3. Karen Finneyfrock (ah-hem.) I did my new poem called “The Rube Goldburg Machine” about making out in high school when you should be working on your science project. Look mom, no paper!
4. Jodie Knowles: I think Jodie is a real emerging talent on the Seattle scene. I’m quite honestly pretty amazed at how quickly her voice has emerged powerfully in her writing. I’m not convinced that she knows how good she is. When she does know it, everybody look out.
5. Mende Smith: New work from Mende going for some personal/emotional revelation. Mende is producing poems at an alarming rate. It will be exciting to see what else comes out of this time. For me, it was long and the performance was one note: it started intense and stayed intense all the way through. Mende has sunk her teeth into slam and is learning its lessons.
1. Mende: Another new poem, “Manhattan Madonna.”
2. Jodie: “Kaleidoscope” Practice for WOWps. Amazing lines in this poem!
3. Moi: A newish poem that I’ve never tried in a slam called “Miss You.” I was surprised by how many laughs it got. Might be a good 1 minute poem.
4. Sara: New piece about her beau leaving for the Peace Corps. Great writing, per usual.
5. Julia: Again, I found her charming.
1. Sara: We call this one “The Bison Stomach Poem.” How much do I love the line, “Wake up! Wake up…little telephone booth.” I said that to Danny Sherrard one morning when we were on the team together and had to wake up and catch the plane for NPS.
2. Me! Another piece I have never slammed with called, “Rebecca and her Lover ate Oysters.” True story, y’all!
3. Jodie: Her amazingly good poem called “Starfish,” about bulimia. Yes!
In the end, I edged out my ladies for the win. Brickman took 2nd and Jodie 3rd, and Scrooge listened to the ghosts and decided to help Bob Cratchit’s family, and we all went out for Chinese food in the ID and everyone agreed that it was a wonderful Christmas.