Showing posts with label national poetry slam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label national poetry slam. Show all posts

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Nationals 2009, Day 3

Yesterday was overflowing with amazing poetry.

The first event I went to was the Women's Showcase. The host was energetic, the poets were awesome, and the venue was cooler than I thought it would be. It was at a design boutique called Design Within Reach. So there was plenty of seating (on really cool chairs, and the space just looked really cool. The only thing that would have made it better was good enough acoustics for people to go off mic. The next showcase I went to had this.

The next showcase was the Death and Remembrance Showcase. This was a hard one, because it was over an hour of heart-wrenching stuff, but it was still amazing. One of the most amazing things about this event, was the audience. Normally with these side-events, the crowd is very transitory. Usually in an outward direction. People read their poem, or hear their friend read their poem, and then leave. This didn't happen. Nearly everyone was there the whole time.

Flagstaff had the early bout. I was the sacrifice poet for that bout. This was the first opportunity I had for performing poetry at Nationals. I did a poem that I had done only twice before in Tucson. But this time I pulled it off without messing up. There was loads of awesome poetry. I remember one guy who I had seen before judging another bout, and he was giving really low scores. He was wearing a tie, and a button-down shirt that was tucked in. I assumed he was a local yuppie, who had been wrangled into judging. Then he got on stage. His performance showed an exuberance I wasn't expecting. This is what I get for jumping to conclusions.

Flagstaff took second in that bout. Because we got first yesterday, we have a pretty good chance at making it to semifinals. We'll know for sure after tonight's bouts.

After that bout I went to get some ice cream, and saw some people filming on the side of the road. They were apparently making a video for the local paper's website. They were filming slam poets doing their poems. I did a poem, and when I find where the video is up I will link you to it.

For the late bout I saw Boston Cantab again. That slam was quite possibly the best slam I have ever seen. Poem after poem blew my mind, and made the whole room explode with the kind of energy you only see at poetry slams. After it was over I went back to the hotel. On the way there I saw someone running, and thought that looked like an excellent idea, because that bout had made me really pumped. So I sprinted for about a block, before my hours spent stationary caught up with me. Then I found a piece of wall to lean against and wrote a poem.

Once I got back to the hotel I found a cipher almost immediately. I got a chance to do two poems, and hear some cool stuff, and bask in the whole cipher energy. Later that night I found some cool people to talk to. We talked about everything from anime, and the originality of art, to gender identity, and the physical symptoms of fatigue.

Then because I knew I had to be up for the LGBT showcase I decided to go to bed. I set an alarm for 10:50, and then ended up waking up at 9:00. I suppose if I hadn't I wouldn't have had time to write this.

I'm hungry now, so I'm going to sign off, and eat some breakfast.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Nationals 2009, Day 2

Oh ciphers, ciphers, wherefore art thou ciphers? This Nationals has too much talking to people, and not enough spitting at them. But enough complaining, cool things did happen yesterday, and I intend to talk about them.

I managed to print off a couple poems yesterday at the public library, as well as use the internet that wasn't capped at 15kb/s like the hotel's is. One of these days I'm going to write a manifesto about how internet is a basic human right that shouldn't be charged for. At 3:00 I got my first real taste of poetry. This was the rookie showcase. I had forgotten how awesome this art form can be. Just words spoken aloud can evoke incredible responses. There was a guy there from Paris, and his poem was entirely in French. I have no idea what he was talking about, but his performance was so enthusiastic, and exciting, I really don't care. One of the memorable poems, incited both cheering and booing. I did not think was the possible until I heard "This is a List of People Who Had it Coming" For fear of inciting a riot I will not repeat his words.

That night was beginning of the official bouts. The first bout was one that everyone was looking forward to. I was surprised that tiny bar wasn't more full than it already was. Boston Cantab, NYC Nuyorican, Houston and Madison. So many brilliant poems were on that stage. Last year at finals I mentioned a poem about rape, where a woman was on stage, but a man was doing the voice from off stage. That man was on stage that night, and his poem was almost as terrifying. He has officially become the most terrifying poet ever. He has the most brilliant voice. To use his words, "If I was your lover and all you had was my voice, it would be enough"

The next bout was Flagstaff, San Francisco, Kalamazoo, and Detroit. The judges were low scoring the whole night. Antranormous, our local MC from Flagstaff did a piece called the Wackest MC. It was all kinds of brilliant. Flagstaff dominated the whole night, and in the end came out on top.

After the bout was the comedy showcase. This was unfortunately not as cool as I was hoping. There was some funny poetry, but a whole load of people were in the back of the venue talking loudly, so it was hard to get into the spirit of things. I put my name in the hat, but didn't get called.

After the bout I tried to find a cipher, but was unable too, and was too tired to stay up and wait for one to start. It might have had something to do with me being up at 8:30 that morning. This morning I got up at noon, so I should be able to stay awake until people get tired of talking to each other.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Nationals 2009, Day 1.

I have no idea what makes this true, but poets are usually pretty cool people. I've spent the last 24 hours hanging out with poets and it's been great.

I woke up at 4:00 Monday morning, so I could catch a 7:20 plane. As unpleasant as that was, I did get a bagel, and a new poem out of it. I really like this new poem, and I'm hoping to find somewhere to perform it today. The flight was okay, I met someone from Amarillo, who was also a slam poet. He also produced a comic, which he gave me a copy of. This comic is amazing, and is also a webcomic that you can find at: He gave it to me a few minutes before we were supposed to be boarding our plane, and I was so engrossed, I almost didn't get on the plane.

Upon arriving in West Palm Beach, the first thing I notice is the humidity. The air is sticky. I am not sure how this is possible, but trust me. This year may go down as the sweatiest Nationals (though I hear Austin in '07 was pretty bad)

I got some pizza, and then went to the kick-off party. This years kick off party I think was better than last years. Last year it was more of a dance party with loud music, which made conversations tricky. This year the event was much more social. And since I don't drink or dance, I come to parties to socialize. I gave away 13 copies of my CD. Speaking of that CD, it now has a different cover. This is it:

After the after party I went back to the hotel, looking for ciphers. For those of you who don't know, a cipher is when poets do poetry for each other, instead of for points on stage. It's really informal, and a huge part of the slam culture, not to mention a huge part of Nationals.

That's pretty much everything important that happened yesterday (or at least everything I'm willing to mention on the internet for everyone to read (I'll let you decide if I'm kidding or not)) I'm off to go and find some breakfast.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

it's just some words and stuff

In 10 days, 20 hours, and 5 minutes I will be departing to West Palm Beach, Florida for this year's National Poetry Slam. Last year I went with the Tucson team, and it was amazing. I blogged all the way through Nationals, and I plan on doing the same thing this year.

However, this year there is a notable difference. I am not on a team. I tried out for both the Flagstaff and the Tucson team, but unfortunately made neither of them. I'm traveling with the Flagstaff team, and plan on performing at as many side events as possible. Not to mention soaking in the general awesomeness that exists off stage.

Because I am not on a team, this means that less people will hear my poetry. And because I'm an egotistical maniac who thinks my poetry is the greatest thing ever to grace this plane of existence I decided to make a CD.

Because I'm not going to be on stage very much, I figure that asking people to pay 5 bucks for poetry they've heard very little of, is a bit unreasonable. So I'm going to give it away for free. I am casting off the chains of capitalism, and spitting in the face of traditional business, and [insert clever metaphor here]. Mostly I just want to get myself out there. I want people to have some idea of who I am, and what I do.

However, there are a few barriers to this plan. The most notable of which is that I have no blank CDs. I also have little to no money to spend on blank CDs, and I'd rather not spend the money that needs to be spent on food at Nationals. Also I need to print the cases, so it's a bit more than a CD written on in sharpie. Speaking of the case, I have a cover for my CD. This is it:

I'd like to get about a hundred of these,so if anyone wants to improve their karma and help me out, you would have my eternal gratitude. Also, I'll tell you a secret.

I hope to be blogging more than I have been, so I should have another post up here in another day or three.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Nationals Day Last - Charlotte Wins

Finals night was amazing. There was poetry that made you cheer, and laugh, and stand on your feet. There was poetry that scared you out of your wits it was so beautiful. There is a reason that these teams were here. The four teams were Boston, NYC, Austin, and Charlotte. Charlotte won last year, so I was rather disappointed when they won again. But it was an amazing show. An amazing experience, and I'm glad to have been a part of it. Tomorrow I will post a general summary of Nationals as a whole. See you then

Nationals Day 5

I didn't go to any of the day events this day. That probably had something to do with the fact that I was out till about dawn. Then I went grocery shopping. I bought some bagels and granola bars. I had lost my bagels, but then I just found them behind my laptop. The laptop that has hardly moved since I checked into this hotel. They were clever, but they have been found, and I have taken my revenge.

Obviously a last and a second to last ranking was not good enough for Team Tucson, but it's okay. In the words of my very wise team member, we served as the foundation for this event. Without us, those at the top of the pyramid would have nothing. I went to a semifinals bout, which had a whole bunch of awesome poetry. After the semifinals bout was group piece finals. The top twelve teams with the top scoring group pieces, that were not in semifinals competed.

Some of the poems were amazing. The writing was really good, and the movement and group interaction made it better. Phoenix did really good, as did Honolulu, and New York Urbana. However the whole evening was not jaw droppingly awesome. Cleveland did a piece that was more experimental theater than poetry. Chicago's team... There are no words to describe it, but I will try.

They did a poem about sperm. About ten lines into it several dozen people burst from back stage, hands behind their backs wiggling and swimming through the audience. The crowd went wild. People were on their feet. They had recruited every person they could, most of them on other teams to contribute to this spectacle. No one heard most of the poetry in the middle, but no one really cared. When it was over people began chanting "12! 12! 12!" If anything deserved that impossible high score, it was this.

Now obviously this broke nearly every rule in the book. So the poem was not even scored, and immediately disqualified. But again, no one really cared.

The only thing left to happen now is finals. The finals bout will apparently be between Louder Arts, Charlotte, Austin and Cantab I really hop that Louder Arts wins. They are from NYC, and have some of the most impressive stuff I've seen. I will post details about who won, and how, when the finas actually happens. Until then you will just have to speculate.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Nationals Day 4

Sorry I neglected to post this day, but here it is now and day five is on it's way. The first thing I did this day was go to the Hustle panel, intended to teach poets how to get more streams of income. I didn't learn a whole lot, but the panel was moderated by Taylor Mali. Being a bit of a fanboy, he was much of the reason I went in the first place.

After that was the nerd slam. I had been looking forward to this one since I found out about it's existence. Unfortunately I did not get to perform, but listening to the trivia was fun, and I heard a lot of good poetry. I also got a consolation prize because they ran out of time and didn't draw my name. They gave me a big stack of comic books to add to the ones they were giving everyone else. So I'm going home with this:

That night we had the late bout, so we got to see some poetry before us. The poetry was awesome, even though the lights, the sound, and the judges were all screwed up. But one out bout started the judges giving 2s left, the lighting improved, and the sounds we could deal with. I won't go into all the details of the bout, but basically everyone did an awesome job, and Team Tucson came in 3rd of four teams.

After the bouts I went to ciphers. Wow. Just wow. I did the gnome poem, about how the garden gnomes are taking over the world. in the middle of the poem, a security guard walks by and I start following her, screaming about how all the lawn ornaments are conspiring together. It wasn't my best performance, but it was definitely the most fun. I didn't get to bed till about 6 in the morning. Speaking of ciphers, I am off to one right now. I will post Friday's events tomorrow.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wins, Losses, and Who Really Cares? - Nationals Day 3

I woke up at 10:30 this morning, to go to the classics reading. I had a great time getting there (one way streets and artsy architecture are confusing) At the classics reading I read every single piece of classic poetry that I had with me, or memorized. There were only about seven people in the room, so we all got to read a bunch of stuff.

After that I walked down the street into a pizza shop, bought a slice of pizza, stole their pen, and wrote 23 haikus. The haiku showdown was in an hour and I didn't bring any haiku. I then proceeded to get knocked out in the first round. Now I have all these cool haiku and no one to share them with. I need a cipher.

That night Team Tucson had it's first bout. I drew the fourth slot for the first round. Kelly did a poem about her brother going off to war. In the second round we through a group piece about booger eating. I didn't write the poem, but I'm in it. That poem got the best audience reaction of any other poem at that bout. It also got the lowest score. An excellent combination in my mind. So many people commented about that poem after the bout.

We ended up getting fourth place out of four teams, but we rocked all of our poems. We made all the right decisions about what poems to throw up. Everyone on the team including myself was very happy with what happened.

At midnight I competed in the Decathlon Slam. This event is very difficult to describe, but what is most important to know is that it has very little to do with poetry. There was a food eating round, a sit-ups round, a trivia round, and even a round where you had to kidnap an erotic poet from the erotic reading going on at the same time. The winner was almost always completely arbitrary. For example I learned in the trivia round that nudity was banned from the National Poetry in the year Chicago. There were several rounds that were won by the moderator, a man in a Mexican wrestling mask. The competition was a team one, and by the end of the ten rounds my team had won none of the rounds. As such we were declared the winner of whole slam.

Before I sign off I will grace you all with this haiku that no one but me has ever seen before. You should be honored.

Paradoxical prejudice
The accessible entrance is locked.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Metaphorgasm! - Nationals Day 2

I woke up early this morning in order to go and do something called Walk the Talk. Instead of an elaborate opening ceremony poets had the opportunity to perform poetry in the community. I signed up to go perform for senior citizens. I unfortunately did not get to do the poem I had hoped to do, but I still got to do some poetry, and the whole idea behind doing poetry for the community is an excellent one. I only wish they had promoted it more. (There were only five of us performing for the seniors.)

Then I went to orientation, got some info, and this awesome shirt.

Then I went out to lunch, had some udon noodles, which were delicious. Then we went grocery shopping. With no fridge and no microwave, I somehow ended up with this fiendishly healthy batch of food.
  • Granola Bars
  • Raisins
  • Applesauce
  • Graham Crackers
  • Bread
  • Tuna
  • Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • Strawberry Preserves
  • Bananas
  • Apples
I also bought a reusable bag to carry it all in. I feel so damn responsible. Of course I had pizza for dinner. After that went and watched Mesa's bout. They didn't do so well score-wise, but the poetry was all awesome. Then I watched another bout. One of the poems in that bout had the beautiful word that this post is entitled. It pretty much captures that night. I really want to perform poetry now. We have a bout tomorrow (Or rather later today, so I will post the results of that as well as my various activities of the day.
This is Faldwin the Bard, signing off. Good night Madison.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nationals Day 1

Approximately 24 hours ago the skies of Madison exploded in a torrent of rain, thunder, and lightning. Of course I slept through it. But that storm was a excellent start go an excellent day. I slept in, and then took my time packing, and checked out at 11:00. I then watched a movie, ate a burrito, and watched another movie. At which point I checked into my hotel. A great morning. Made especially great, by the fact that morning ended at 3:30 in the afternoon.

One of my team members then spent 40 minutes introducing me to loads of people. I am sure that one of them will remember me, but I will have forgotten them, and their will be much awkwardness.

I then took a nap on the floor, which was great, despite being on the floor. Then I went, and had dinner, talked to more poets (We had a facsinating discussion about cow udders) Then I went to kick off party. I maintain that the only reason we found that party was because of this beautiful creation of mine:

The kickoff party was great. I talked to a whole bunch of people. Met a whole bunch people, many of which I will probably forget. We then went back to the hotel. I started this blog post, but then I was interrupted by another of my team members informing me that I would not have to sleep on the floor, and proceeded to fashion a bed from two seats and a cusioned bench. I will end this blog post with a picture of that bed.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Adventures in Wi-Fi

It is relatively easy to set up a Wi-Fi network. It is also relatively cheap. As such many businesses offer free Wi-Fi for their customers. It is such a cheap and easy thing that there is really no excuse for charging for it.

The Tucson International Airport has free Wi-Fi. Several hotels between Chicago and Madison have free Wi-Fi. However Chicago Midway Airport decided to go against what everyone else is doing and charge for access to the internet. Because of them I spent two hours wandering about looking at people getting their luggage back. My bags are heavy. If I ever get arthritis, I am blaming you, Chicago.

Edit: 100th blog post. WOOT!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

How It All Works

In approximately 2 days several hundred poets will descend on the unsuspecting town of Madison, Wisconsin. Those poets are traveling to this town under the guise of a "competition" So that outsiders can understand the nature of the event it is filled with things like judges, scores, winners and losers. But we the poets know that none of that matters.

The poetry is only happening at the same place so that more people can hear it. The only purpose of the competition is to raise the quality of the work. The only purpose of the winner is so that outsiders will feel that something has been accomplished.

The National Poetry Slam is a big party pretending to be a competition. Not only is there competitive bouts, but there are open mics, theme slams, workshops, and countless ciphers. Here are a few of the events I am looking forward to.

Nerd Slam - This has been on my list ever since I found out it existed. I have poetry for this. I am sure to meet so many cool people there. (By cool I mean at a similar level of nerdship as I am)

Okay, I lied there is only one in particular. But I am sure to be going to lots of different things. Here is a list of all the events that will be going on outside of the main competition.

Here is an explanation of how the competition works for those of you who happen to care:

I plan on taking my computer with me to Madison, so I will be blogging throughout Nationals. Stay tuned.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Recordings Revamp

This entire summer I have been working on all of my poetry, both the writing and the performance. I realized recently that many of the recordings represent the piece as it was many weeks ago. So I have re-recorded, and replaced several of the tracks. I also have a new poem. In favor of search engine optimization (If you don't know what that means don't worry about it) I have posted each new recording as a separate post. I have also updated the playlist that you get when you click on "Recordings" Most of the rewrites are minor, however "Woman" had been changed into a group piece, and had significant work done to it. So has "Make a Joyful Noise" for those of you that knew it outside of this blog.

Enjoy the poems below.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Silver Screen Slam at The Loft

Date: Thursday July 24th
Time: 7:30pm - 10:00pm
Place: The Loft Theater, 3233 E Speedway
Admission: $5
Details(taken from Facebook event description):

Bring your best poetry performance pieces and battle it out with other cinema-loving slam-sters in hopes of snagging the coveted “Slammie” Award for Best Poet (and a $100 cash prize)!

We’ll hold two performance rounds, featuring a maximum of eight poets, so show up early to sign-up and ensure your place in film/poetry history. Judges will be selected at random from the audience, and points will be awarded after each performance. The highest point average after two rounds takes the $100 cash prize and the "Slammie" trophy. Bonus points will be awarded to anyone with a film-inspired piece, so start re-watching your favorite movies, pronto!
Doc Luben will be your cinematic tour guide through all the slam madness, so be prepared! And since we’re a movie theater, we’ll also be screening some amazing experimental short films throughout the evening, to make sure ALL your senses are stimulated.

But that’s not all … our featured performers of the night will be the talented members of the 2008 Tucson Slam Team (Lindsay Miller, Teresa Driver, Kelly Lewis, Faldwin, and Mickey Randleman), in one of their final appearances before leaving for the National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin, taking place August 3-9.

The $5.00 admission to The Silver Screen Slam will help raise much-needed funds to send the Tucson Slam Team to compete in Madison … so don’t be shy about donating a little extra cash in order to help our team bring Slam victory to the Tucson poetry scene!

Cookie: Today's cookie goes to the person who RSVPs for this event in the comments.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I will be going to the National Poetry Slam to represent Tucson. That is all.