The Individual World Poetry Slam has wrapped. It was a wild ride, full of ups, downs and outs. Here is my top ten list. Hope you enjoy.
1. Megan Thoma. If this sassy east coast minx wasn’t busy organizing a party in her hotel room, she was planting a life sized devil baby in the hall and knocking on random poet’s doors before hiding. I’m still mad I didn’t get to see Megan perform, but I did get this photo of her.
2. The Starry Plough. Any poets who have visited the Berkeley Poetry Slam before know their home venue on Shattuck, the Starry Plough. Registration, day events and late night events were there and walking in felt a little like coming home. Also, it was a straight shot walking from the hotel or one stop away on the BART. No thinking involved!
3. Bay Area Poets are SO NICE!!! Seriously. The poets in the bay were cheering for everybody from everywhere and the hospitality was beyond. Special love to Nazelah Jeffries and Dahled Jeffries for working their Oakland tails off to make us happy. More thanks to Charles Ekabhumi Ellik, our host city host. You guys are in my heart forever!
4. Team Tourette’s during the New Word Series. (Yes, sorry that’s their real name.) Every poem was so astounding and daring and boundary breaking that it reminded me why I love slam.
5. Finally meeting Rob Sturma, another Write Bloody author whose book is coming out this year. Four of the Write Bloody Class of 09 were at iWPS: Rob, Siera DeMulder (who made finals stage), Jeanann Verlee and me!
6. Alvin Lau. Alvin Lau doesn’t want you to know that his heart is filled with marbles and super bouncing balls. If you poke him right, everything comes spilling out and some things break. Alvin was great to me and Tara all week and I relished seeing him take the paper out of his pocket on finals stage and read something vulnerable and lovely. I only kept one of the marbles.
7. Seeing Tara on FINALS STAGE! It’s not a carefully guarded secret that Tara Hardy and I choose outfits which disguise the fact that we are conjoined twins. Whenever Tara gets off stage, I have the urge to jump up and yell, “Do you see? Do you SEE?” The thing is, they always do. Tara was luminous and brave and generous at iWPS and she brought home a well earned 7th place.
8. Seeing Sean Conlon and April Ranger read gloriously in my second bout. These two poets are growing at such a rapid rate, it is terrifying. They are both bringing work that has an original point of view and unique sound that still manages to win consistently. Continuing the love affair between Seattle and Boston…
10. Bed Ninja.
11. Chris August to Karen Finneyfrock, “It was a pleasure plummeting from the top of the rankings with you last night.” Chris and I were both in the top 10 after the first night of bouts. The second night…not so much. In the end, I took 18th place and was thrilled to read my brand new poem on Finals Stage. It’s called, “What Lot’s Wife Would Have Said, If She Wasn’t a Pillar of Salt.”
12. Brickman killed her second bout at her first iWPS. Proud.
12. Damien Flores 1 minute poem. Where can I get a copy of this stunning piece of work? Also, a poet I’ve never seen before named Jessica Lopez killed me with every piece I saw her perform.
14. If you’ve never been to one of these big slam events, you should know that people literally danced in the aisles when Amy Everhart of Denver won the title of Individual World Poetry Slam Champion. The energy was electric and if I wasn’t sitting in the middle of a row, I might have danced too. This was the only video I could find of Amy on the web and the quality isn’t great. But, I’m sure her online presence is about to have a make over.
15. Brian Ellis. One of these days we’re going back to San Francisco and we’re going to go take that picture in that park and it’s going to be perfect.