WOW Qualifiers and Man-Ku

On Tuesday, before a substantial and enthusiastic audience, Minneapolis selected its representative for the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Detroit, Michigan this March…

But first, there was a Manly Haiku Battle, also known as “Man-Ku.” Four manly men (women were invited to participate, but none took up the offer) squared off against each other in a bout hosted by Wonder Dave.

There was no voting; Wonder Dave simply asked the audience to clap for their favorite and then tried to gauge who had more applause. Rob Martin beat Mike Brown in the first round after a single haiku, but in the second round, Wonder Dave declared a tie, so Michael Shaeffer and Kyle Dobitz had to recite another 17 syllables to determine a winner.

Shaeffer knocked out Dobitz and immediately went up against Rob Martin for the final round, in which the two finalists had to be ready with three different manly haikus.

Shaeffer’s first haiku of this round was my favorite for the evening, so I reproduce it for you here:

Slowly perfecting
The art of eating pussy
Since the Reagan years

Shaeffer got the point for that one, but the audience liked Martin’s second poem about the embarrassment of getting a boner in a high school locker room. It was one-to-one, with one poem left… and Shaeffer won it with yet another poem about cunilingis. Martin received a consolation prize — chocolate Skittles, which Wonder Dave insisted were more of a punishment than a prize — and Shaeffer got $5.

Michael Shaeffer and Wonder Dave
Michael Shaeffer celebrating his victory with Wonder Dave

Then it was time for the main event. Wonder Dave announced the hostess for the evening… me, Katherine Glover!!!

There were five women competing — all the females who had placed in the top four at any previous bout of the Minneapolis season. The competitors were Allison, Inky, Sierra DeMulder, Jenni Sparks and Cynthia French — all talented regulars from the slam scene, so it was guaranteed to be a good evening.

Allison Broeren


Sierra DeMulder
Sierra DeMulder

Jenni Sparks
Jenni Sparks

Cynthia French
Cynthia French

Poems are three minutes for normal poetry slams, but the WOW bouts are a bit different. We started with a one-minute round, in which each woman had only 60 seconds to dazzle the audience — and the judges. In some cases, the former was more impressed than the latter, and the judges got booed.

After the one-minute round was a four-minute round, followed by a two-minute round. Sierra did an abridged version of her Paper Dolls poem, which has quickly become an audience favorite. Inky did her bicycle “the X bone’s connected to the Y bone,” poem, and Cynthia French raced through her foot fetish poem in an impressive one minute and fifty-two seconds.

The three women with the highest cumulative scores at this point were Jenni Sparks, Inky and Sierra DeMulder. They went on to the final round, where they could each show off one of their more traditional three-minute poems.

Jenn Sparks confessed she hated Star Wars for teaching boys to respond to “I love you” with the words, “I know.” Inky told a story about rediscovering a lost half-sister. And Sierra finished off the night with an elegant piece about cutting.

The top scorer of the evening was Sierra, who won an unexpected surprise prize — free tattooing from Wonder Dave’s sister.

But as our attentive readers know, Sierra is already the WOW representative for St. Paul, so Minneapolis will be sending the runner-up, Inky. The two of them are sure to make the Twin Cities proud. Congratulations, Sierra and Inky!

(Much thanks to Katherine Glover for covering the slam, and to Cali Mastny for shooting the slam. More photos can be found at Cali’s flickr. -Cole)

About Cole

A thumb among fingers. A writer, a photographer, a lover of all things citrusy.
This entry was posted in Kieran's, Minneapolis, Slam Poetry, SlamMN, Venues and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to WOW Qualifiers and Man-Ku

  1. Michael Mlekoday says:

    If Cynthia clocked in at 1 minute and 93 seconds on Foot Fetish Frank, then she would have received a time penalty (1 min 93 sec = 2 min 33 sec).

  2. Mike, I’m going to check if anyone got the real time- thanks for being on top of these things.

  3. WonderDave says:

    Cynthia Clocked in At 1 min and 52.
    -W Dave

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