Last night we went to the “Poetry Slam,” a poetry competition put on by a local group called the Full Moon Poets.
I expected a few quirky and bookish people sit and read sentimental stuff. I was way off. The La Paloma in Encinitas, an alternative movie theater, was at least half full with spectators and contestants. There were 20 competing poets, who each had three minutes to recite their original poems. The poets all presented their own material. There were judges, andout of the 20 contestants, seven winners went to a second round, and four more to the final round. Then there was a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, cash prizes collected church style, albeit in large popcorn buckets from the audience.
OK, there were about ten so-so poets. I could have done as well as any of them. Then there were another 5 or so pretty good ones, with clever material, either funny, or thought provoking, or outlandish in some way or other. For instance, there was one older man who had a poem about an older man taking a piss at a bathroom in a casino, I kid you not. It was graphic, but in the end, it actually worked. Talk about creativity.
Then there were about five or so superb poets. Their writing, their creativity, their imagery, and finally, their powerful delivery just blew me away. I have never been in a situation where the delivery of a poem was a powerful experience. I have written many a poem over the years, and I have always considered myself pretty good at it. Many times I have felt sorry for myself that my poems are just that, poems and they can’t really convey emotion very well to audiences. A poem written in a book is just words on paper, that was my excuse. I always wished I had more musical skill, because then, rather than writing a poem, I could write a song, and then play it with a guitar or piano; now I could convey emotion. Now I could send a message.
How wrong I was with my attitude. After last night, I know that reciting a poem can be ever so powerful as a song. The two winners, number two Corey Taft, and number one Rudy Francisco, are both very young men in their early to mid twenties, and they are consumate professionals in their art. It is an adventure to watch them recite one of their poems, it is something you don’t forget.
Rudy Francisco has one of his poems on his MySpace (above) site so you can get a taste. Corey Taft’s style is entirely different, but utterly refreshing. He should post some work, too.
I was blown away. This event exceeded my expectation by several orders of magnitude.
Am I going to attend the next slam? Hell yes.