Seattle Poetry Slam, 10/12


My Seattle Slam Correspondent, Dane Kuttler, has offered up another blow-by-blow bird’s eye view of Seattle Poetry Slam. I’m a little behind posting them, so enjoy this report from 10/12 and soon, I’ll get up to date. Also, if you haven’t checked out the slam’s new website, give it a look. It’s GORGEOUS! Enjoy!


Hey, Slam Fans, it’s been…way too long since my last installment! And seriously, what a night to return to the world of slamblogging (that is totally a word, because I said so.) Let’s begin with some Who’s Who.

Northbeast, the name for New England poets who compete in the regional Northbeast slam, was out in full force last night, between feature J*me Caroline, surprise guest Brian Ellis, recent transplant Artie Moffa and, of course, former Northbeasts Jack McCarthy , Sara Brickman and Dane Kuttler! Holy crap! Oh, yeah, and then Taylor Mali showed up, just to keep us on our toes.

But, really, it was J*me’s night, and he deserves real kudos for a solid, powerful show. Re-bar was more full than I’ve seen in awhile, and the crowd was perfect for J*me’s dense, vivid work. They cheered through his opener, “The Smithsoian Asks for Aretha Franklin’s Hat And She Responds” – a piece that delivered on the promised humor and punch its title promised. Favorite quote: “You can have it when I shut this gorgeous thing up!” How a white man from Boston manages to pull off Aretha’s poetic, unapologetic voice was a mystery to some in the crowd – “Well, he ain’t no soul brotha, but he’s got something” I overheard two rows in front of me – but he does, and beautifully.

J*me followed with “Bonesaw,” and “FaceF*cking, Rimjobs, and Barroom Fights,” (great lines: “eyes are subway busy” “I know you from the wood of knife handle” and “The walls speak of how you move, and I let them.”) “Arrow’s Mileage,” a new (yay, Seattle!) piece – oh, did I mention that most, if not all of J*me’s work was read off page? On a portable music stand he schlepped all the way from Boston?

J*me closed with “Childish List for the Jaws of G!d,” which contained my favorite line of the night: “memories are more than the dead banging on the radiators for heat.” Wow. Thanks for gracing us, Mr. Caroline, and see you at Nationals next year (in BOSTON!)

Notes from the open mic and slam are a little short tonight – and, my gravest apologies for having missed a couple of performers. Catch y’all next week, ok?

Open Mic Notes

The long-as-your-first-french-kiss open mic list kicked off with Oscar, a relative newbie to the Seattle slam stage, who did a spirited and vivacious piece about something my great editor probably won’t let me print, lest her students find it. Come back next week if you’re curious!

Patrick C’s poem contained the line “everything and nothing matters,” which kind of summed up the piece, a mishmash of images that didn’t seem to connect. Maybe they did and I just missed it?

Laura was next with an “I want…” poem to a potential lover that contained a great image: sipping wine out of paper cups. Sweet!

Gary went against the rules (!!) and actually did a poem and a half – one, an unfinished piece in support of queer youth (for National Coming Out Day), and a whole piece that distracted me, because I get distracted when white men call themselves the n-word on stage.

Llama John, quickly becoming a fixture here at SPS, does a short piece called “The Truth about Pirates,” which is easily the funniest thing I’ve heard from him. Great work! Wanna know the truth about pirates? Ask him next week!

Corvis did one of his standard freestyles, this time about his son. Memorable line “science doesn’t hold him like I do.” Brilliant.

Bruce V Bracken gets my Big Respect Award of the week for busting out a pantoum! This form, which dates back to 1812, and is probably older, is incredibly difficult to write – I’ve tried and failed. Great job, Bruce.

Special out-of-town guest Brian Ellis closed the open mic with a wonderful piece about chosen family – “a group of people that makes your individuality stronger.” Gorgeous. Thank you. Always a pleasure to have you!

Slam Notes

Round 1

A ten person slam, oh boy! Let’s get started with sacrifice, special out-of-town guest Taylor Mali, who pulls a stunt by trying to teach the audience to sing his simple four-line poem. It doesn’t quite materialize in three minutes, leading to a gigantic time penalty for a total score of 16.9

Jack McCarthy opens the slam with “Hippie Hollow,” a light, funny piece with a few crucial twists. Moral? A group of boaters encountering nude bathers isn’t always what it looks like. 24.3

Roberto Dominguez comes up with “Plate of Food,” a sensuous ode to women and kitchens. 23.1

Roma Raye comes up with a piece I haven’t heard in awhile – “Sandman.” The most impressive streak of counting I’ve ever heard occurs in this poem, as Roma counts in Roman Numerals up to thirteen, or something. 26.0

Ms. Mack is up next with a strong showing – a piece on racist language we’ve heard before, but gains fresh perspective in a powerful delivery. 25.6

Barton Jackson brings a brand new (yeah Seattle!) piece about Tyler Clementi, the gay college student who committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Title: “Devil’s Trill Sonata.” It works beautifully on page, but came off kind of stilted on stage. Work on it, Barton, then come back and knock us off our feet, because the writing is stellar.
Sara Brickman also busts out a new piece (yeah Seattle!) that contains the line “we screeched ourselves unlovable.” I love that woman’s command of language. Small time penalty takes her from the high score of the round to a 25.7

Charles, a visiting poet from Ann Arbor, does an ode to his hometown with great sound work. 25.1

Dane Kuttler brings up her newest piece (yeah Seattle!), “Advice to a Young Queer on Coming Out Day,” which, paradoxically, advises young queers not to come out, if it isn’t safe. Felt really great to perform, actually – one of those “need this off my chest” performances. 25.9

Dean is up next, but unfortunately, I was in the bathroom, shaking off my poem! Ack! Sorry, Dean – come back next week! Luckily, my seatmate was keeping score. 25.0

Jeremy closes the round with another piece I missed – so sorry! 22.9

Round 2

Dane Kuttler opens the round with “Shifra the Midwife,” her piece about abortion providers, to a solid 26.5

Charles came up next, but again, I missed him because I was shaking off my poem. Sorry, man! 25.9

Sara Brickman does “Crazy Girls,” which kills, because she’s on fire, and also because the room is full of the Northbeasts who know some of the characters in the poem. Also, a certain audience member who shall not be named (as Dane shifts her eyes to her shoes) yelled out one of Brickman’s lines with her in an accidental display of love and admiration for the poem, and did not mean to distract her. 27.6

Ms. Mack returns with another piece about race and language. 26.5

Roma Raye attacks back with “Homecoming,” her sweet piece about two queer kids going to Homecoming together. The whole poem seems to lead up to her line “he preferred nuts with his [Hershey’s] kisses,” which is totally worth it. 26.9

Round 3

Down to four women (yeah!)…

Sara Brickman leads off with a rendition of “Michigan,” which contains some new choreography that looks fantastic. 27.5

Roma follows with her anthemic teaching poem. 27.3

Dane Kuttler rounds out her night with “Bilingual” – 27.5

And Ms. Mack goes for the win – and takes it! – with a defiant triumph piece that blows the audience away. 28.0

That’s all, folks! See you next week, for Jeanann Verlee!! Oh, I’m aflutter just thinking about it.

Signing off,
~Dane Kuttler
Finneyfrock SlamNews Correspondent

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