UrbSLAM is making noise.
For two years in a row, UrbSLAM has sent a team of poets to compete at Southern Fried. The team added another contest to their travels when they visited the Rustbelt Midwest Regional. In both competitions, the 2013 UrbSLAM did something it had not done before: win a bout.
For those uninitiated in poetry slam parlance, bouts are when three to five teams compete against each other to determine who is on track to make the final stage and who will be in the audience watching the qualifying teams. After losing the first bouts at both regional contests this summer, UrbSlam bounced back to capture first place with key performances powering the effort. At SoFried in New Orleans, JayLuvve’s passionate performance of “Letter to Self” earned a “dirty thirty,” meaning a perfect score of thirty points from the southern judges. A week later in Madison, Wisconsin, Poetic Slang moved the Rustbelt audience with “Whispering Winds,” earning one of the highest scores in the bout. Despite those wins, UrbSLAM did not make it to final stage in either competition. They finished 18th overall at SoFried and 6th at Rustbelt, narrowly missing the Midwest regional’s final stage after losing a tie-break to Indianapolis Slam. While UrbSLAM, as a team, watched the show, one member, Poetic Slang, made it to Rustbelt’s final stage as an indie.
Next year’s UrbSLAM team will be asked to return to both regional competitions in June, compete in grudge matches in July, and travel to Oakland, California in August for the National Poetry Slam. Urban Artist Alliance for Child Development, a nonprofit organization that manages UrbPoetry open mic and UrbSLAM at Legacy Books and Café, hopes to make the tour an annual opportunity for poets seeking artistic development and exposure. Many members of UrbSLAM’s 2012 team went on to facilitate VerbQuake youth workshops, sharing their experience and knowledge with St. Louis high school teens. This year’s squad is comprised of Louis ConPhliction, JayLuvve, Poetic Slang, Greg the Poet, and Chris Ware.
For more information about how to make the 2014 UrbSLAM team, click here.