Women of the World Poetry Slam

This week, the Women of the World Poetry Slam is kicking off in Coumbus, OH. Seattle’s official WOWps rep is the ever astouding poet, Tara Hardy.

Also in the tournament from Seattle are Sara Brickman and our own slam correspondent Dane Kuttler. Dane is sending fun updates from the field like this news blast.

Hey Slam Fans –

Get excited for Night 1 of WoWps! Here are some hot bout pairings & combos:

In the Battle Of The Pregnant Ladies, Gypsee Yo and Dee Matthews face off at Callahans.
In the Winner’s Circle Bout, Sierra DeMulder (Nats ’09) and Amy Everhart (Iwps ’09) at Kickstart Cafe.
In the NY-NJ Face-off Bout Jeanann Verlee and Nicole Homer (and former NY and NJ poet, me! Dane Kuttler)

Oh, man is this going to be an epic night.

Here is another, longer post from Dane detailing a view of community side of one of these big, slam events. Enjoy.

Here is the first thing anyone should know about poets: they’re good at call-and-response. That is, if someone in “the family” calls, the family responds. Here’s how that looked today:

I woke up this morning in the dark. The flight from Seattle to Chicago was an hour late. I had ten minutes to get from one end of O’Hare to another to catch my connecting flight, and just barely caught it. By the time the plane landed in the Columbus sunset, I was sweaty, grimy, chapped and tired. I’d eaten exactly one Fig Newton and drunk two glasses of EmergenC. I’ had imprints on my face from sleeping on the airplane windowframe.

But when I landed, I called Dave, a Columbus poet who’d been offering rides. Dave and I don’t know each other. He arrived at the passenger pickup just as I walked out. He took my bags, gave me a hug, and herded me into the car. He asked, “Are you most tired, hungry, or anxious?”

“Hungry,” I said instantly, my stomach growling in accompaniment.

“Well,” he said thoughtfully, “it just so happens that I’ve got four pots of soup sitting at home – which is on our way to the host hotel. What do you think of stopping?”

Another ten minutes, and I was at Dave’s kitchen table with a steaming bowl of chili in one hand, and dill pickle soup in the other (dill pickle soup is made mostly of sour cream and pickle juice. If this sounds good to you, we should probably be friends.) He then pointed me to the nearby hippie co-op grocery so I could get some snacks for later, and drove me to the host hotel in downtown Columbus.

When the family responds, we respond well.

Tonight is the oh-my-g-d-hi-how-are-you night. The first night, the solid hugs and grins and promises of “later.” No real talking happens on the first night, because everybody’s too busy running around. We did all come together for the Last-Chance Slam, wherein people who hadn’t made it into the competition competed against one another for the remaining two spots. Truth Is, a poet from Toronto, had a solid showing, as did a poet named Amy from the Twin Cities. But the night belonged to another Twin Cities poet – Sid Malicious, a newcomer with long, powerful vocal lines that rang with confidence. Her piece about teaching kids in Tanzania was particularly provoking – it addressed a lot of the complications about being a white woman from the US in Tanzania, not to mention writing poems about it.

“I will call you thief,” she said, addressing the students in her poem, “but never criminal.”

The other winner, Blaire, of Cleveland, knocked me off my feet with both her pieces. I particularly admired her work in her second poem, which began “You are a nightlight.” I expected images of comfort, maybe fear or hope, but Blaire twisted the image so beautifully, reminding the audience that a nightlight sheds just enough light to show you the door – in this case, the door out of a sour relationship. Fantastic craftsmanship. I can’t wait to get to know this poet’s work.

Seattle’s own Sara Brickman and Tara Hardy are in town for the occasion – oh, and a bit of cool news, everyone – Tara has just come from the Capturing Fire Queer Slam! at which she took second place!! Huzzah!

More good news soon!

Signing off,
~Dane Kuttler
Finneyfrock Slam News Correspondent

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