We end up seeing a lot of the same names and faces when we talk about the two big slams of each month, so one might anticipate that the outcomes are pretty predictable as well. February’s SlamMN slam was proof that an upset of usual dynamics is always possible.
Guest hosted by Michael Shaeffer, the slam was packed and the list of poets filled early on, leaving some of the usual crowd to watch, rather than perform. Instead, the list featured some new poets, some poets from a previous generation of slammers, and a few familiar faces.
Sierra DeMulder sacrificed, so eager to read a 5 minute old poem off an iPhone- a piece about allowing same sex couples to adopt.
The first round was a beautiful shock- with a broad range of poetic styles, we found ourselves gaping at the Reverend Pat D, aching at Benjamin Gidmark’s five+ minute masterpiece. I failed to get the whole piece, but I felt the audacious move and the amazing poetry deserved a little documentation.
The piece is beautiful, dense- so much going on, narrative, theatre, beautiful use of rhythm and language. And so many minutes over time, that there was no chance he was making second round.
The evening was a great demonstration in how many topics poetry can touch on, from a letter to an old love in Rob Martin’s “Dear Jenny” to Pablo’s discussion of Catholicism’s conflicting branches, from Britta’s poem about her bloodlines to three poems about mothers, and from Homeless Ryan K’s “Manifesto from the Tinman” to Reverend Pat D’s piece about diarrhea and his past life as Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Dylan secured the number 3 spot, and with as young as he is, we anticipate more strong writing out of him in the future. Between this and leading a new monthly slam at Macalester College, if he doesn’t burn himself out, Dylan has the markings of the leader of the next generation of poets to hit the twin cities.
Toussaint Morrison was solidly stirring, all three rounds, earning himself a well-deserved second place position, with a beautiful and grimy loveletter to a woman who ends up being Minneapolis, and a discussion of being so surrounded by whiteness one forgets their own race.
Winning beautifully was Homeless Ryan K, whose lyric style is aching and brilliant. We hope to see these new and old faces challenging the usual crew more often- the result is stronger poetry, more new poetry, and more risk taking. The poetic scene in town is so simultaneously competitive and collaborative- there is no choice for there to be anything but an explosion of talent.
I’m going to leave this entry a little shorter than most, as I’ve got some catching up to do- more blog posts to write up for you, but there are more photographs from the night up on the talented Michael Tran’s flickr page
Thank you to everyone who came out to That’s What She Said last night, it went so well. If you couldn’t make it out, or would like to contribute a little money to the Women of the World poetry slam twin cities contingent, go ahead and hit that “donate” button up on the top right of the Minnesota Microphone page and make sure to note that it’s for the WOWps fundraiser. Again, thank you to everyone who came out.