Seattle Poetry Slam 5/18

Sorry for the late posting gang. Here is Dane Kuttler (Write Bloody Finalist!) Slam Blog from last week.

Hey, slam fans! Sorry for the radio silence – I was squirreling along on a Write Bloody submission that (as we know from Karen) can be a giant timesuck. But, the manuscript has been handed in, and I am back for your weekly SlamBlog!

Tonight held a full length feature from Kevin Sandbloom, a poet and musician with a lovely tenor crooning style – his tone was clear, pure, and vibrant. Occasionally, he’d interrupt his one-man-band act for some poetry, done in a much huskier baritone that I found seductively engaging. He comes through Seattle every two years or so, spreading bluesy, groovy folk poetry. I found his music actually inspired me to write – and I confess, I spent the bulk of his feature furiously scribbling a draft of a poem. (Seriously, this is one of the best compliments I can offer another artist.) Beautiful work, Mr. Sandbloom, and hope to see you again before so long.

Also in the coveted feature spotlight tonight was Steven Meads from our beloved southern neighbor, San Francisco! Fresh from a feature in Vancouver, Steven began with a piece about art and metaphor that was at once surreal and grounded. It wasn’t the easiest poem to begin with, and I admire the choice. The audience chewed it over, and looked up expectantly for his next piece – a hilarious ode to his personal history with condoms. With laughter at his heels, Steven launched into the piece I know him for – “Lions.” In this wild, imaginative ride, Steven catapults himself around the audience, leaping on furniture and getting in people’s faces – all without losing steam, volume, or sounding totally crazy. Way to get out of the box!

Tonight’s open mic was just two people: a Seattle Slam virgin named OJ, who did a piece called “Dear Hope,” which included this great image “the city’s corporate web of chutes and ladders.” Nice work, sir! I suggest improving your performance by taking your hands out of your pockets next time. The other reader was a guy named Renaissance, whose work with his body reminded me a little bit of Marc Bamuthi Joseph, who featured at the Seattle Slam last year (anyone remember his amazing performance at Spitfire?). He worked solidly with sound and rhyme, though I’d recommend more moments where he plays with rhythm – the “scratched record” moment worked particularly well to lift it out of the rest of the poem.

Slam Notes

Tonight was the New Work Slam, for which I was very excited. Here’s how it all went down:

Round 1

Sara Brickman, fresh from her own Write Bloody manuscript, sacrifices a poem about turning into a dragon in the middle of a hospital. Her final line “holding it together for the family” zinged – I love Sara’s emerging work about her family. First, “bog marsh,” and now this. Can’t wait to see what’s coming. 24.8 for Sara.

Marita charges the 1-spot with a piece about “I’ll be your slutty side dish” – delicious! (pardon the pun) 23.6

Jake Tucker follows with an adorable, clever, and endearing love poem that include lines like “your eyes are big brown balls of sticky” and “stars turn into wombats and sing barbershop.” Hope this guy comes back! I liked him. 22.5

Graham was up next, a newcomer to Seattle from Bellingham’s Poetry Night, with a piece detailing scenes in a bar – good character and picture building. 20.6

Dane Kuttler went up next, with a piece that was technically not brand-new, but had just undergone a drastic revision, so I figured it counted. I was really satisfied with my reading. 24.7

Corvis did his usual freestyle thing. It occurred to me that Corvis had a bit of advantage in this slam, since he does new work every single week – admirable, no? A time penalty (boo, linear time!) takes Corvis to a 23.9

Morris whipped out a hilarious piece that began “I lead by counter-example.” It seemed like a rash of non sequiturs, but if I’ve learned one thing about Morris it’s that he can draw connections between wildly disparate images that I’d never imagine. 26.1

Scuffs Mentality comes to the stage with a musing on life and death, reading from the page – good man! 23.3

Ronnie, a poet from the Youth Speaks Seattle scene hits the Seattle Slam hard and rips a piece that can be best summed up by a single quote “now I say raps where I used to say my prayers.” Good work, Ronnie! 25.5

Tatyana Brown, another Bay Area visitor (yay! welcome!) is up next, with “I have an exit strategy for every conversation,” a fantastic piece with heart and guts. Her performance leaves the audience stunned. 26.6

Bruce V Bracken closes out Round 1 with “Nightmare Room,” and gets more vulnerable onstage than I’ve ever seen him get. Congratulations. Excellent work, Bruce. 23.1

Round 2

Having cut to 5 poets, Tatyana Brown leads off with a piece about her relationship with her sister that is still haunting me. 26.1

Ronnie comes up next and promptly forgets his poem, but gratefully pulls out another one like a true showman. I liked his soundplay: “a tsunami in a suit / a phoenix in soot” A time penalty takes Ronnie to a 23.9

Morris comes back with a piece all about confusions. “I used to confuse Richard Simmons with Gene Simmons.” Hilarious, with a twist at the end that dropped my jaw. 25.5

Corvis came back with another freestyle, a political rant. 26.8

And yours truly, Dane Kuttler finished round 2 with a piece about schooling two young men on a public bus. 25.3

At the end of the night, it was Corvis’s game. Congratulations! See y’all next week!

Signing off,
~Dane Kuttler

Finneyfrock Slam News Correspondent

One response to this post.

  1. What makes poetry so wonderful is the fact that it involves all of life, every concern, every desire, and every feeling. If something has some great significance to a person’s existence, then it has a great significance in poetry as well.


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