Warring with words

Maine team heading to national slam
By DEIRDRE FULTON  |  June 10, 2009

poetry main

Five local poets are heading to West Palm Beach, Florida, to represent Maine in the 2009 National Poetry Slam during the first week of August. The event, which features five nights of spoken-word poetry bouts, has taken place in a different city every year since 1990; in 1995, Maine took fourth place, and last year, after a long competition hiatus, the team split the field and placed 36th (out of 80 teams).

This year's group, decided by the audience after a round of finals and semi-finals at the North Star Music Café, is: Sam Teitle, Jazz (Jasper Wood), Nate A (Nathan Amadon), One L (Wil Gibson), and T Money (Tina Smith). Some other Portlanders are considering coming along for the ride and to offer support.

Amadon, who helps organize the successful Second Tuesday Slams at the North Star (see "Word on the Street," by Deirdre Fulton, December 26, 2007), has simple goals for this year's team.

"People forget that we're up here," he says, of slam artists in Maine. "I want us to put Portland back on the map as far as spoken word goes."

Already, the Tuesday slams and the prospect of national recognition have helped create a buzz here in town, he says. "We found that by having brought a team [to last year's competition in Madison, Wisconsin], and actually showing that we have slams every month ... people are taking it seriously." To that end, the field that competed to be part of this year's traveling slam team was "three and four times better than what we've seen in the past few years," Amadon says.

One relatively new face on the slam scene is woman-about-town Tina Smith, who took such a liking to the art form that she launched an open mic program for teens at the Meg Perry Center. "Slam poetry is a newly discovered creative outlet for me that provides space for me to react to my emotions and experiences in a positive and thoughtful way," she says. "Reading my poetry on stage forces me to be more intentional with my word choice and be more considerate of my audience."

Not to mention the challenges (and advantages) the medium provides. "When I slam it's just me using my own voice and that is really empowering," Smith says. "While I have my share of love poems, I'm mostly known for reprimanding 'The Man' for social injustices ... In my poems, I'm usually holding people accountable, including myself, for the suffering of humanity. Lately, I've been writing more personal pieces about my past experiences in attempts of explaining, or perhaps for making excuses for, why and how I became the person I am today."

The slam team will hold several fundraisers between now and August to help pay for their trip to Florida. Visit portveritas.com for dates and locations.

  Topics: This Just In , Media, Poetry, Nathan Amadon,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY DEIRDRE FULTON
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   ALL THE WORLD'S A STAGE  |  July 24, 2014
    When three theater companies, all within a one-hour drive of Portland, choose to present the same Shakespeare play on overlapping dates, you have to wonder what about that particular show resonates with this particular moment.
  •   NUMBER CRUNCHERS  |  July 23, 2014
    Maybe instead of devoting still-more resources to food reviews, Maine’s leading news organizations should spend money on keeping better tabs on Augusta.
  •   BLUESTOCKING FILM SERIES SHOWCASES WOMEN'S STORIES  |  July 16, 2014
    Among last year’s 100 top-grossing films, women represented just 15 percent of protagonists, and less than one-third of total characters.
  •   CHECKING IN: THE NEW GUARD AND THE WRITER'S HOTEL  |  July 11, 2014
    Former Mainer Shanna McNair started The New Guard, an independent, multi-genre literary review, in order to exalt the writer, no matter if that writer was well-established or just starting out.
  •   NO TAR SANDS  |  July 10, 2014
    “People’s feelings are clear...they don’t want to be known as the tar sands capitol of the United States."

 See all articles by: DEIRDRE FULTON