Another National Poetry Slam has wrapped. Celebrating my ten year anniversary in poetry slam (my first NPS was in Chicago 1999 as part of the Washington DC Team) I think NPS 09 was on of my favorite to date!
This nationals in West Palm Beach, Florida had all the makings of a great event. Our host hotel pushed the limits of southern hospitality by allowing poets to take over the lobby, courtyard and pool until 5 am every night for all manner of chicanery. All of the venues were adequate and within easy walking distance from one another and the hotel. Side events and late night events were well chosen and easy to get to, AND somehow the bouts were among the best I’ve seen at NPS.
My Nationals Top Ten:
1. Spontaneous poet wrestling matches in Cantab’s room the first night. (Brian Ellis… I will have my revenge.)
2. Rooming with Maya Hersh and Tara Hardy. Best pre-bout fashion shows ever!
3. The Tattler.
4. Once again Shappy made me laugh until all I could do was rock back and forth holding myself in the filming room with his improv “I’m just a simple southern lawyer defending this bear you have put on trial” poem. Also, Shappy hosted our bout at Monarchy, where a mirrored-ball, carousel horse hangs over the stage. Shappy called it “The Horse that Poops Tens,” and every time a poet got a ten, Shappy would whinny and make a pooping noise. That horse pooped all over Seattle!! Three 10s for “The Newer Colossus.”
5. Seeing Denise Jolly on finals stage. (She’s really Seattle y’all.)
7. When we kicked out the DJ at the after party and took over music control.
8. Water balloon fight on finals night. More specifically, trying to determine rules for the water balloon fight. Oh, slam poets.
9. Henry Sampson’s speech on accepting the Spirit of the Slam award. What a class act.
10. Robbie Q.
Twelve Poems that Rocked my NPS
(Since video is not available for most of these pieces yet, I linked to another poem by the poet or text when I could)
2. Denver Team Nuba’s group piece version of Ken Arkind poem “Volume Knob.” ACTUAL VIDEO FROM THE BOUT!
3. Sierra DeMulder’s finals stage piece called “Static” (and her semi-finals poem in the voice of Jeffrey Dahmer’s mother.)
4. Jeanann Verlee’s (NYC Team Urbana) poem from Thursday night,
I have a hornet in my head, Dad. A hornet.
She’s an angry bitch – she hurls herself against my skull. She stings. And stings.
5. Jon Sands (NYC TeamUrbana) semi-final piece, here is an older version feat. Shira Erlichman.
6. Queen Sheba’s poem from the Women’s Reading.
7. Nicole Homer’s (NYC’s Team Urbana) poem, “you cover yourself with black marker…”
8. Jamila Woods from Chicago Young Authors…everything.
9. John Survivor Blake (NYC Team Urbana), “A Lesson Taught by Miles Davis to Chris Brown”
10. Everything the Cantab Poetry Lounge from Boston put up. Seriously. Everything.
11. Curtis Meyer and Alex Ruiz’s poem to Harold Bloom and Billy Collins called “Academia Mortalis.” I like poems that examine our ethos as slam poets.
There were so many more and naturally, I missed many of the poems happening in other bouts. So, I never got to see some of my favorite poets. Overall, this NPS was one for the record books (and not in that St. Louis way.) I feel inordinately blessed to be a part of this community that feeds me as much fun as it does growth. Thanks to everyone who was there. I feel full.