May 1, 2016

WordFest 2016 — Invitational Slam, April 23

The last night of the 2016 Albany WordFest was an invitational Slam at the Albany Social Justice Center. 3 hot teams competed: 315 (Syracuse), Rock Bottom (Rochester) & Nitty Gritty Slam (Albany). The place was packed & pumped. Jayton London was the host with a somewhat scattered traditional “what is Slam” intro, leaving out the 3-minute rule, & some of the fine points of scoring. No matter, the high energy kept it going with corrections made on the way.

The “sacrificial poet,” which is a practice round for the judges, was from Rock Bottom & scored a 27 — a bad sign creating a very small window to the perfect 30. Confusion continued with the very first performer with the scorekeeper not dropping the high & low scores of the 5 given. This was quickly corrected by the experienced Slammers in the house & the appointment of an assistant scorer. The tiny window of score was bracketed by 8.5s that got booed & the 10 that got cheered (even when they got tossed as the low or high).


Of course, this being Slam, there was the usual spit, anger, histrionics & over-acting — & speaking too fast. Nitty Gritty Team’s Amani had an eco-piece on Earth Day & Mother Nature. The 315 Team’s “The Confused Poet” did a quieter piece about a fantasy girl. Nitty Gritty’s Elizag confronted the current election rhetoric with “Donald Trump’s Registry,” making the point that we are all Jews or Muslims.

Daniel Summerhill
In the Final Round 315’s Symphony actually read a poem, “My pen bleeds for me…” Also in that round Nitty Gritty’s Daniel Summerhill knocked us out with his sensitive & inspiring poem to a nephew with autism, “Ode to Elijah,” scoring a perfect 30.

So when all the scores & rounds were tallied, it was Nitty Gritty #1, 315 second, & Rock Bottom in third. There was actually another, open Slam to follow, but this tired soul had to leave. It was a high-energy end to the 2016 WordFest — but, as we like to say here, “In Albany, Every Day is WordFest — I mean, Poetry Month.”

Come back often to this website & read more stories about what goes on in my world of poetry.

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