What is a Poetry Slam?

Posted: Tuesday, July 03, 2001

Come to Old Town Village at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 13 and find out! The Kenai Library Book Club in conjuction with the Alaska Poetry League from Anchorage is sponsoring Kenai's first Poetry Slam as Dinner Theater.

Tickets are $17, which buys soup, salad bar, roll and beverage (and includeds the gratuity) with $7 going to the Poetry League as a fund raiser to go to the National Poetry Slam in Seattle in August.

"It looks like it's going to be an open poetry slam which means anyone can enter," stated Peter Porco "All poetry must be original and must be the poet's own."

The Alaska Poetry League has brought Slams to Cooper Landing and Homer in the past. "I'm very excited that Peter Porco and his group are going to come to the central Kenai Penisula," said Kathy Tarr, executive director of Kenai Visitors and Convention Bureau. "They have already played in Homer. We need to show them that there's an appreciative audience in Kenai/Soldtona, as well."

A poetry slam features poetry that is performed, not just read. It can be in any style and about any topic or theme, but it must take no longer than 3 minutes to deliver. Often touted as 'poetry from the streets', Slams feature poems that often ventures into so-called adult language and may not be suitable for very young audiences.

Judges are picked at random from the audience. They award scores for each performance, holding up cards with numbers from zero to 10.0, to the first decimal place (4.5,6.9) for each poem. The highest and lowest scores are discarded and the other three added to come up with a total for that poem for a maximum score of 30 for any one poem.

After the first round half the field is advanced to the second round. The Slam continues for three rounds, with the highest cumulative scores advancing. The final three highest scores will be awarded cash prizes.

Sign up to read for the slam at the door beginning at 6 p.m. Competing poets do not pay the admission fee but they pay for food and beverages.

"I'll be in attendance on July 13 with words in hand," said Jerry McDonnell, local writer and performer.

The Poetry Slam is open to all local poets and performers. The Alaska Poetry League will travel to Homer on Saturday, July 14 for another Slam which will be a qualifying event. The winners there will be eligible to compete in the Grand Slam in May to become members of the Alaska Poetry League Team that represents the State at the National Poetry Slam.

For additional information, call Julie at the Kenai Library, 283-4378. Tickets are available at KCVB and at River City Books as well as at the door.



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