Tuesday, May 26, 2009

ArtsBuzz: National Poetry Slam coming to West Palm in August

SlamCharlotte, last year's winner of the National Poetry Slam.
(Photo by Katya Szabados)

WEST PALM BEACH -- The National Poetry Slam, which since 1990 has seen writers hurling hexameters at each other in closely followed contests, will be held this year in West Palm Beach beginning in the first week of August.

The slam is set for Aug. 4-8, and will pit roughly 80 teams of three to five poets from across the country against each other in preliminary, semifinal and final competitions. The daily contests will be at venues on or around Clematis Street, and the finals will be held at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, organizers said.

In a letter on the National Poetry Slam Website, Steve Marsh, the slam's executive director, writes that the West Palm Beach event will mark the first time that Poetry Slam Inc., the non-profit that runs the performance-art bouts, will be responsible for all the event details.

"This is a new business model for PSi," Marsh writes. "But it is one that gives PSi full control over the event and full responsibility for its success or failure."

The first National Poetry Slam was held in San Francisco in 1990 and was the outgrowth of an event that had been held since 1986 in Chicago. Last year's competition was held in Madison, Wis., and featured 76 teams.

Teams are assembled in participating cities through individual competitions, such as Delray Beach's Poets Anonymous. Team members write group poems, often including choreography, as well as craft individual poems.

Although the competitions themselves are reserved to pre-registered teams, some of the slam's happenings are open to public participation. These include poetry workshops and contests such as Head-to-Head Haiku.

The National Poetry Slam has received extensive national and international media coverage each year, and has been the subject of documentary films, including Slam Nation (1998), directed by Paul Devlin.

The arrival of the slam in West Palm Beach marks the second major event this year in Palm Beach County to focus on poetry. The Palm Beach Poetry Festival, organized by Miles Coon, hosted its fifth annual festival this past January in Delray Beach.

Ticket prices for the National Poetry Slam range from $3 for daily events and $5 for late-night events to $7 for preliminary competitions, $10 for group piece finals, and $20 for the finals. A pass for all events costs $75. For more information, visit the official Website.


Anonymous said...

Im finding their Info SLoppy! I cant find any number to call anybody for information and It doesnt say wheather u can pay for tickets at the door. its very frustrating

Greg Stepanich said...

Here's a URL for the NPS2009 site that explains the deal about tickets:


There seems to be other helpful information there, too ----