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National Poetry Slam Arrives in Boston
The poetry event of the year has arrived, August 9-13 in Boston and Cambridge

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTON, Mass., Aug. 9, 2011 — This is it! More than 300 poets will arrive in Cambridge today for the biggest, most exciting poetry competition in the world, the 2011 National Poetry Slam. The city will overflow with lyrical action from Tuesday, August 9 through Saturday, August 13, with close to 100 events across eleven venues in Cambridge and Boston.

The competition kicks off on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. with the first round of preliminary competition. These “four-by-four” (four-team, four-round) slam bouts are the heart of NPS, the shows where you’ll be able to see all of the 76 teams at the competition. There will be teams from across the country and indeed the globe, including eight teams from right here in New England and one all the way from Australia. Each team has its own distinct style, and audiences may be surprised at the diverse and varied topics, flavors, and techniques they’ll see the performers employ.

Preliminaries continue on Wednesday and Thursday, with the twenty top-scoring teams progressing to four semi-final bouts on Friday, August 12. The winners of each of those bouts will progress to the winner-takes-all finals bout on Saturday.

“I am thrilled that the wait is over and our city can see this incredible event,” says Host City Director Simone Beaubien. “If you think you’ve seen performance poetry, you still haven’t seen slam; if you think you’ve seen slam, you’ve never seen anything like the National Poetry Slam.”

If that’s not enough, there will be a host of day events and late night events, like Hip-Hop Headquarters (Wed. and Thurs., 11pm, 1667 Mass. Ave.), the Erotica Showcase (Thurs., 11pm, 738 Mass. Ave.), the Nerd Slam (Thurs., 12:30pm, 32 Vassar St., Room 32-123), the wacky Decathalon Slam (Thurs., 11pm, 334 Mass. Ave.), or the jazz-fueled Jeff Robinson Trio Open Mic (Tues., 11pm, 1667 Mass. Ave.).

For more information on all the events, visit http://nps2011.com. Festival passes can still be purchased on Tuesday at Le Meridien Hotel at 20 Sidney St. in Cambridge from 10:30am to 4:30 p.m., or at the Democracy Center at 45 Mt. Auburn St. from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter @nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.

About Poetry Slam, Inc.
Poetry Slam, Inc. is the official non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams, setting the rules and vision that the vast majority of slams around the country adhere to. PSI has created the backbone for a community of poets, in order to pool ideas and share creative resources to insure the future growth and recognition of slam.


National Poetry Slam Gets Down and Dirty With Erotica Showcase
‘Bunny up’ for the naughtiest night at the 2011 National Poetry Slam in Boston, Thursday, August 11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Aug. 5, 2011 — Poetry has long been known as the language of love: from the ancient poetry of pre-feudal Japan to the heart-fold notes from a high school sweetheart you’ve probably still got stashed in your underwear drawer, poetry of all kinds has a reputation for drawing a line straight from the mind to the heart. At the late-night Erotica Showcase at the 2011 National Poetry Slam, however, poets will be drawing that line a little further south.

If you’re looking for subtle, metaphor-laden, highbrow erotica, the Erotica Showcase won’t be for you. More Sapphic than Shakespearian, and more Snoop-Dogg-Dionysian than either, performance poets from all over the country will be cutting loose at this reading with poetry that’s hot, dirty, and otherwise unfit for polite company. Featured performers will bring their least family-friendly (but best baby-making) verses to the upstairs stage at the Cantab Lounge starting at 11 p.m. on Thursday, August 11. The event is 21+, for obvious reasons.

A traditional staple of the annual National Poetry Slam late-night offerings, the event was hosted for seven years by Boston’s own Gabrielle Bouliane, author of “If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Redhead.” Known for her rambunctiously queer- and woman-friendly hosting style, as well as her trademark bunny costume, the spicy ginger urged the reading to continue before her passing in 2010. Participants are always encouraged to “Bunny up!” all night in Bouliane’s honor, and the slam poetry community will be taking this assignment very seriously.

This year’s all-star hosting line-up includes three exceptionally sexy –we mean, talented– poets. 1999 Individual National Poetry Slam Champion Roger Bonair-Agard, who also can claim a poetry-slam-related naked footrace win from 2005 among his many honors, is unlikely to be reading from his famed oeuvre about Trinidadian football on this night. Nor should you expect modesty from Jason Carney, Def Poet and four-time National Poetry Slam Finalist, whose rambunctious Texan accent you’ll hear echoing all the way out to the Charles. Last, but not least, no Cambridge erotica reading would be complete without girl-next-door April Ranger, whose clever tongue lashes even the most recalcitrant verbs into poetic submission.

“After this reading, you will go home and [expletive] like red-headed bunnies,” Carney promises. And let’s be honest: we think that’s what your high school sweetheart had in mind, too.

WHAT: The Erotica Showcase at the National Poetry Slam
WHERE: Upstairs at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge
WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 11 at 11pm.
COST: $7, or free with festival pass. Passes can be purchased at http://nps2011.com/festival-passes/

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter @nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.


National Poetry Slam to Hold Two Nights of Hip-Hop Headquarters
Event will feature live DJ, bring noise and also funk, August 10 and 11 at the Lizard Lounge in Cambridge, Mass.

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 4, 2011 — If there’s a dividing line between poetry slam and hip-hop, you can expect the MCs at Cambridge’s Lizard Lounge to dance on both sides of it, lyrically, at the Lounge’s late-night shows on August 10 and 11. As part of the 2011 National Poetry Slam, which runs the week of August 9-13 at venues around Cambridge and Boston, the Lounge will host two consecutive nights of “Hip Hop Headquarters,” an open mic designed to give poets a chance to spit rhymes cypher-style. The event is one of the most popular at the National Poetry Slam, so you can expect the mic to be packed from 11:00 p.m. until last call at the 21+ venue.

The festivities will be hosted by local artist Marlon “Inphynit” Carey and Richmond freestyler Rasul “the Knowbody” Elder, who will enjoy a reunion of sorts as Rasul returns to the Lizard Lounge after a few years away. From beatboxing to drumming to didgeridoo, these two dynamic performers have a combined reputation for spontaneity and raw talent, especially at the informal freestyle circles that tend to break out when poets congregate for the National Poetry Slam. “We’ve both been the source of some of the livest freestyle sessions at National Poetry Slam festivals in the past few years,” boasts the good-natured Carey. “We’re just super excited to finally be doing this as an official event.”

DJs Prospect and Khil will be on hand both nights to spin for the poets — a daunting task, considering that slammers from Berkeley, California, to Brunswick, Australia will be laying down lyrics all week as part of the competition, and an intimidating number of them name hip-hop among their poetic talents. Thursday’s event will also feature a special performance from comedic hip-hop duo DirtyDurdie and NPS’ first ever Rap Battle Slam, a good-natured yet intense 8-Mile-style competition.

Says Carey: “We can’t wait to show off our dope rhyme skills at a place as renowned as the Lizard Lounge. It promises to be an awesome time.”

WHAT: Hip-Hop Headquarters at the 2011 National Poetry Slam
WHERE: The Lizard Lounge, Downstairs at the Cambridge Common, 1667 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge
WHEN: Aug. 10 and 11 from 11 p.m. until close
COST: $7 each night, or free with a festival pass. Passes can be purchased at http://nps2011.com/tickets/


National Poetry Slam to Screen Award-Winning Louder Than a Bomb
Critically acclaimed documentary chronicling youth poetry movement screens Friday, August 12 at The Brattle Theatre in Cambridge, Mass.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 3, 2011 – The National Poetry Slam will celebrate the next generation of poets with a special screening of the award-winning youth slam documentary Louder Than a Bomb on Friday, August 12 at The Brattle Theatre. The screening will be co-sponsored by Mass LEAP, a brand-new youth poetry non-profit serving the Greater Boston area. The screening will be one of the last events at this year’s National Poetry Slam, which runs from August 9-13.

“We’re thrilled that Louder Than a Bomb will be screening at the 2011 National Poetry Slam,” says co-director Greg Jacobs. “The adult poets who serve as teachers, mentors, and emcees at LTAB every year are inspirations to the kids who participate. Through the film, we hope in some small way to help the kids return the favor.”

Louder Than a Bomb tells the inspirational story of four Chicago High School slam teams as they prepare to compete in the annual competition of the same name. Adult viewers thinking back to their own high school efforts at poetry will be pleasantly surprised at the talent and passion evident in the youth poetry scene: this is language as a joyful release, irrepressibly talented teenagers obsessed with making words dance. How and why they do it—and the community they create along the way—is the story at the heart of this inspiring film.

“Being featured in the Louder Than A Bomb documentary has been one of the most humbling and profound experiences of my lifetime,” says Adam Gottlieb, a Chicago high school grad now attending college in New England. “It is most definitely surreal to have my senior year of high school framed in this way for audiences around the world.” The charismatic Gottlieb has since become familiar to Boston audiences as a member of the Hampshire College Slam Collective, and has competed at the National Poetry Slam itself. Speaking of the directors, he remarked that “Greg and Jon [Siskel] approached the project as true story-tellers, with full respect, honesty, and artistic integrity. They are not interested in dramatizing but in truth-telling.”

The film premiered at the 2010 Cleveland International Film Festival, where it won both the Roxanne T. Mueller Audience Choice Award for best film and the Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Film Competition. Since then, the film has won audience awards at the Palm Springs, Chicago, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Woods Hole film festivals, as well as jury prizes at the Austin, Chicago, Woods Hole, and Virginia film fests. It’s been a huge hit with critics, too; Robert Koehler of Variety called it “an affecting and superbly paced celebration of American youth at their creative best.”

The showing is also something of a coming out party for Mass LEAP (Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance), a group that aims to create more opportunities for youth poets in the Greater Boston area through writing workshops, open mics, slams, poetry teacher training, and curriculum development courses.

“Louder Than a Bomb does a great job of showcasing the impact a vibrant spoken word community can have on the lives of teenagers from all backgrounds,” says Mass LEAP co-founder Jade Sylvan. “The National Poetry Slam is the perfect place to show this film, since it represents the coming together of the nationwide slam community.”

WHAT: A special screening of Louder Than a Bomb at the National Poetry Slam
WHERE: The Brattle Theatre, 40 Brattle Street in Cambridge
WHEN: Friday, August 12 at 11pm
COST: $10 or free with a festival pass. Festival passes can be purchased at http://nps2011.com/festival-passes/

About Mass LEAP
Mass LEAP is a network of poets, teachers, and students working to create a vibrant youth poetry community in Massachusetts. Sponsored by Mass Poetry, it holds regular youth writing workshops, all-ages open mics and teen poetry slams, and trains poets and teachers in techniques to incorporate spoken word into the classroom. For more information, visit massleapcollective.org, or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/massleap.


Jeff Robinson Trio to Jam in Special National Poetry Slam Event
Slam’s best poets meet the country’s best poetry band at the 2011 National Poetry Slam, August 9 in Cambridge, Mass.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 2, 2011 – On Aug. 9, poets from all over the U.S. and Canada will be getting a taste of one of the most unique parts of the Cambridge poetry scene: the Jeff Robinson Trio. The Trio (or JR3) has been the main attraction at the Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam since its inception, backing poets with superb improvised music. With the 2011 National Poetry Slam coming to Boston and Cambridge Aug. 9-13, it seemed only fitting to hold a special event for the Trio in their own stomping grounds.

The event starts at 11pm at the Lizard Lounge and is open to anyone 21 and older. Anyone who comes will have a chance to sign up to perform with the Trio behind them— and can expect to see some of the best performance poets in the country doing the same. Audiences accustomed to slam’s typical three-minute a cappella style will find a more relaxed, playful, and, of course, musical experience at the Lounge on Tuesday night.

The Trio has been performing every Sunday at the Lizard Lounge for more than a decade. Jeff Robinson, saxophonist, started the band in 1995, together with fellow Berklee grad Blake Newman on bass and drummer Jerome Dupree—one of the original members of the band Morphine. Both great listeners and musicians, the band plays together seamlessly, creating a medley of rhythm, emotion, and inspiration that deftly underscores the poets’ words. Slam’s inventor, Marc Smith, once hailed the trio thusly: “Magicians! Wizards! The Jeff Robinson Trio is the best poetry band in the country.”

The event will be hosted by national recording artist and recurring TEDx feature Iyeoka Okoawo, who was a founding member of the poetry slam at the Lizard Lounge and a National Poetry Slam Finalist back in 2000. Theatrical poetry troupe ARTiculation, favorites in the local youth scene, will also split some mic time with Okoawo to MC the event.
The interwoven music and words of the Jeff Robinson Trio are part of the Boston area’s rich poetry tradition. “So many page and stage poets have come through Boston,” says Jeff Robinson. “The National Poetry Slam is drawing even more poets here. It’s a great event for one of the world’s greatest poetry cities.”

WHAT: Open Mic with the Jeff Robinson Trio at the National Poetry Slam
WHERE: The Lizard Lounge, downstairs at the Cambridge Common, 1667 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge
WHEN: Tuesday, Aug. 9 at 11pm
COST: $7 or free with a festival pass. Passes can be purchased at http://nps2011.com/festival-passes/


Youth Poets Make Their Mark at 2011 National Poetry Slam
Come see the next generation of slam legends at National Poetry Slam, August 11 in Cambridge, Mass.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Aug. 1, 2011 – Teenage word warriors will sling arrows of verse through the summer air on the afternoon of Thursday, August 11, when a youth poetry slam will be held as part of the festivities for this year’s National Poetry Slam in Boston and Cambridge. All 18-and-under slammers daring enough to take the stage are invited to do so at 1:00 p.m. at the Democracy Center, located at 45 Mount Auburn St. in Cambridge, and audience of all ages is encouraged to come watch and support.

The slam will be hosted by Mass LEAP (Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance) co-founders Alex Charalambides and Jade Sylvan, along with the bombastic and ever-enthusiastic Brandeis Dean of Student Life, one-time Nuyorican slam champ Jamele “Harlym1two5” Adams. Youth slammers will be subject to the same rules as the adults– no props, costumes, or musical accompaniment– but “youth rules” means they’ll be given up to three and a half minutes to wring points out of the randomly selected judges.

The youth slam will be, as Sylvan says with anticipation, “a chance for the young writers of Boston to show off their skills in front of a national audience of poets and poetry-enthusiasts of all ages. Some of them will literally be performing for their heroes.” With over 300 adult poets competing at the National Poetry Slam during the evening events, more than a few will be on hand to scout the next rising stars. Most will be quite relieved that these powerful young voices are still underage for NPS.

Audiences accustomed to the adult slam might be surprised at both the emotion and maturity of the writing that pervades the youth slam. “Whenever someone tells me that they think Poetry Slam has plateaued, reached the limit of its outreach potential, I tell them to take a look at the youth scene,” says Charalambides, who is also the founder and director of the Worcester Youth Poetry Slam. Having just returned from Brave New Voices (the national poetry slam competition for youth) with the triumphant semi-finalists from Worcester, Coach Charalambides is still riding high on the enthusiasm and joy of the tournament. “These poets just bring so much passion to their work and so much energy to the stage. We haven’t even scratched the surface yet!”

Youth slam followers take note: Mass LEAP and the National Poetry Slam will also host a one-night screening of Louder Than a Bomb the next evening at The Brattle Theatre. This award-winning documentary follows four high school teams as they compete in Chicago’s flourishing and remarkably diverse youth slams. The screening is set for 11:00 p.m. on Friday, August 12 at The Brattle Theatre. Admission is $10 at the door, or free with a festival pass.

WHAT: The Youth Slam at the National Poetry Slam
WHERE: The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge
WHEN: Thursday, Aug. 11 at 1:00 pm
COST: $3 or free with festival pass. Festival passes can be purchased at http://nps2011.com/festival-passes/

About Mass LEAP
Mass LEAP is a network of poets, teachers, and students working to create a vibrant youth poetry community in Massachusetts. Sponsored by Mass Poetry, it holds regular youth writing workshops, all-ages open mics and teen poetry slams, and trains poets and teachers in techniques to incorporate spoken word into the classroom. For more information, visit massleapcollective.org, or like us on Facebook at facebook.com/massleap.


National Poetry Slam Schedule Announced
Official bout draw revealing first three nights of team competition released for the National Poetry Slam, August 9-13 in Boston and Cambridge, Mass.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTON, Mass. July 28, 2011 — It’s almost here! Poetry Slam Inc. today released the bout draw for the 2011 National Poetry Slam, coming to Boston in just two short weeks, on Aug. 9-13. The first three nights of the competition will pit teams from across the country against other in a series of random-draw preliminary bouts. Each team will compete on two of those three nights, with the highest scorers advancing to semi-finals on Friday.

You can see the entire bout schedule at http://nps2011.com/bouts/. With a record number of poets performing, all of the matches promise to be unique and exciting. We urge new fans to try to hear a variety of teams from around the country—different regions all have their own unique voices, and teams invariably have new stars waiting to be discovered. There are seven venues to choose from over three nights, with ambiance ranging from polished theater and lecture spaces to slam’s traditional home, the down-and-dirty dive bar.

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some highlights:

Tuesday, Aug. 9
A Finals Stage Rematch — 7pm, Downstairs at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Mass Ave. in Cambridge: Bull City Slam (Durham) vs. Soapboxing (St. Paul) vs. louderARTS (New York City) vs. Slam of Steel (Boise) — Bull City and Soapboxing were two of the four finalists last year, but they’ll have some stiff competition in this bout from the renowned louderARTS team, and an infamous Boise squad that happens to be one of the tournament’s two all-women teams. 18+, $5 cover charge.

International Slam of Mystery — 9pm, Upstairs at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Mass Ave. in Cambridge: KnowVernacular (Bexley, OH) vs. Mental Graffiti (Chicago) vs. Muddy Rivers Poetry Slam (Brunswick, Australia) vs. Urbana (New York City) — We call it the “National Poetry Slam,” but really, slams from anywhere in the world are welcome. This bout marks the NPS debut of our most distant competitor: Muddy Rivers Poetry Slam, which hails all the way from the land down under. 21+, $5 cover charge.

Wednesday, Aug. 10
Texas Grudge Match — 7pm, Cafe 939, 939 Boylston St. in Boston: Austin Poetry Slam vs. Dallas Poetry Slam, vs. Mental Graffiti (Chicago) vs. SlamMN! (Minneapolis) — Two formidable Texas teams face off against a veteran team from the birthplace of slam (Chicago), and a team representing from the last city to host NPS (Minneapolis). All ages, $5 cover charge.

Storytelling Wall of Sound — 9pm, Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St in Cambridge: Madison Poetry Slam vs. Mercury Cafe (Denver) vs. Omaha Healing Arts vs. Toronto Poetry Slam — This promises to be a heck of a bout, pitting perennial semi-finalists Denver against a Toronto team that made it to Group Piece Finals last year, a strong set of storytellers from Omaha, and a young Madison team that boasts at least two students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s famed hip-hop theater program. All ages, $5 cover charge.

Thursday, Aug. 11
We Meet Again — 7pm, MIT Stata Center, 32 Vassar St., in Cambridge: Milwaukee Poetry Slam vs. Portland Poetry Slam (Portland, OR) vs. Slam Free or Die (Manchester) vs. Slam Nuba (Denver) — Well this is awkward: Amy Everhart won the 2009 Individual World Poetry Slam representing Denver, and she’ll be in this bout — on the Portland team. Plus, the match features local favorite Manchester, and a not-to-be-underestimated Milwaukee team. All ages, $5.

Northeast Death Match — 9pm, Cafe 939, 939 Boylston St. in Boston: Lizard Lounge (Boston) vs. Providence Poetry Slam vs. SlamCharlotte vs. Verbal Slap (New Haven) — This match pits three killer New England teams against each other. Crashing the party: SlamCharlotte, a team that happens to have won back-to-back championships in 2007 and 2008. It promises to be intense.

Audiences will be able to get into all these events with a festival pass, which you can purchase at http://nps2011.com/tickets. Individual tickets will also be sold at the door. Show up early, and you might even get the chance to judge.

For more information about the venues, visitnps2011.poetryslam.com/competition/competition-venues/

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter @nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.

About Poetry Slam, Inc.
Poetry Slam, Inc. is the official non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams, setting the rules and vision that the vast majority of slams around the country adhere to. PSI has created the backbone for a community of poets, in order to pool ideas and share creative resources to insure the future growth and recognition of slam.


New England Gears Up for National Poetry Slam With Regional Preview Slams
New England audiences get their last chance to see local teams in action before the National Poetry Slam, August 9-13 in Boston

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 14, 2011 — Over the next few weeks, New Englanders will get the last chance to see their hometown teams in action before they compete in the epic 2011 National Poetry Slam in Cambridge and Boston August 9-13. There’s no better chance to get a taste of what the national event might feel like, or to scout out the local competition and pick favorites.

“The regional slams are all about training and prepping for the big show in August, which means trying out new pieces, figuring out which poems to throw against certain teams, practicing group pieces, and getting a feel for out strengths as a team,” says Providence SlamMaster Megan Thoma. “It’s also a great way to build camaraderie between the New England teams before August.”

First up, on July 17, the Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam gives audiences a taste of what a Nationals-style team bout will look like. The Lizard Lounge’s team will take on the Boston Poetry Slam team from the Cantab Lounge, along with teams from Manchester and Providence. This will be each team’s last match before the big dance, so you can expect to see their absolute best work. (1665 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors open at 7:30. Cover: $5, 21+. http://poetryjam.org)

Then on July 20, the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge will bring representatives from all nine of New England’s venues together in a first-of-its-kind individual competition. The winner will earn a spot in the secretive late-night “Underground” slam that Boston native Jamele “Harlym 1two5” Adams holds during Nationals each year. (738 Massachusetts Ave. in Cambridge. Doors at 7:15. Cover $5. 18+. http://slamnews.com)

“This indy slam at the Cantab is going to be like nothing we’ve ever run before,” says Cantab SlamMaster Simone Beaubien. “The underground slam is a head-to-head, pit-style, winner-take-all throw-down, so we’re going to be riffing off that. I actually can’t tell you much more about it to preserve the secrecy of the bout; let’s just say it’s going to get very intense in that basement on Wednesday.”

Finally on July 28, Manchester, New Hampshire’s “Slam Free or Die” reading will be holding one last team bout. This time the lineup will include Worcester, Portland, Maine’s “Port Veritas,” and the Lizard Lounge in addition to Manchester itself. (Milly’s Tavern, 500 Commercial Street in Manchester. All Ages. Doors at 7:00. Cover: $3. http://facebook.com/slamfreeordie)

All the teams competing are part of the NorthBEAST collective, a group of northeastern teams not unlike a college basketball conference. And though these teams compete against each other regularly, you’re likely to see them rooting for each other at the big dance.

“We show up mostly to try out new material, see some great poetry, drink beer and shout at each other,” says Manchester co-SlamMaster Sam Teitel. “We’re pulling for each other. If the audience got to see a good show then everybody wins.”

If all that weren’t enough, on Aug. 4, just a few days before Nationals, the Providence Poetry Slam will be holding a regional Decathalon slam. This wacky format pits teams against each other in 10 rounds of knock-down-drag-out silliness. Each round challenges poets to stretch their boundaries with everything from improptu group pieces to interpretive dance. Competing will be Jersey City, Worcester, Lowell, the Lizard Lounge, and of course, Providence. Think of it as a preview for the National Decathalon Slam being held at the All Asia on Aug. 11. (AS220, 115 Empire Street in Providence. Doors at 7:30. Cover: $4. http://as220.org)

“I like running the Decathlon Slam, for it takes away a lot of the too-serious competitiveness that creeps into competition,” says Thoma. “The Decathlon reminds people that slam is nothing more than a parlor game that allows us to share our work with others.”


How Boston Got the National Poetry Slam
The story of how one determined woman returned the Boston Poetry Slam to glory

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — July, 11– To be fair, it was snowing. And her featured performer was not a household name. But as she looked around the almost empty bar, Simone Beaubien felt a knot in the pit of her stomach. “Oh god,” she thought, “I’m going to be the SlamMaster who killed the Boston Poetry Slam.”

That was in 2004. Flash forward to April 27, 2011. The downstairs of the Cantab Lounge is, as it often is these days, so packed that they’ve had to lock the doors. Usually, some of these people would have cleared out after the open mic–but not tonight. Tonight is special. “Tonight,” Beaubien tells the crowd, “we are going to pick the five poets who will represent the hometown team this year at the National Poetry Slam right here in Boston and Cambridge.” The applause is deafening.

There was no small amount of pride in her voice. She had almost singlehandedly convinced Poetry Slam Inc. to host the 2011 National Poetry Slam–its flagship team championship competition–in Boston. And to hear her tell it, it wasn’t that hard. “It didn’t take much convincing,” Beaubien says. “We’re one of the oldest slams in the world, and we have a great reputation both as writers and listeners.”

Indeed, the last time Boston hosted NPS was in 1992, when slam was young, and Beaubien’s predecessors–Michael Brown and Patricia Smith–had just founded Boston’s venue. It was the third NPS ever held, and only 16 teams competed. That event is often credited with being the first to focus national attention on a slam outside of the medium’s Chicago birthplace. “We made a conscious decision to send the slam to Boston, to free it and let it grow,” slam inventor Marc Smith once remarked. Soon after, slam exploded in New England, with a number of readings cropping up in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. Some of those slams have disappeared in the years since, and several others sprung up, but the Boston Poetry Slam–which won the title that year, and the next year, and finished in the top four the following two years–was on the map and here to stay.

Beaubien first stumbled on the venue in 1999. “I actually found my way to poetry slam through one of Boston’s most famous slammer-storytellers, Jack McCarthy, who ran into me at a library poetry reading in my hometown of Chelmsford,” she explains.

McCarthy remembers the reading well. “She did a poem that had elephants in it, and I was blown away,” he recalls. “Chelmsford held that slam twice a year, and every time I’d see and hear Simone, I’d tell her she belonged at the Cantab. She and I argue about how many Chelmsford slams it took to get her to Mass. Ave, but once she got there, the rest is… poetry.”

“It only took one night and I was hooked,” Beaubien recalls. Still, she never expected to wind up in charge of the place. But when first Smith and then Brown departed with no obvious successor, she stepped up to the plate. “I looked around and said, ‘Someone has to keep this place going, and I think it has to be me,’” she says.

And that’s how she wound up presiding over that empty room that dreary night in 2004. “We were a divided community for a while,” recalls Cantab bartender and veteran poet Adam Stone. “There were people who left because they didn’t like the previous organizer, and there were people who left because they didn’t think anyone else would be as good as the previous organizer.” But then a funny thing happened: “Simone ended up being one of the best organizers in slam,” Stone says. “When I went on tour last fall, every host of every venue I featured at said something to the effect of ‘I think tonight’s show went really well. I mean, it wasn’t Simone good, but it was close, right?’”

Brown too was pleased with the results. “When an old man looks for someone to take over his labor of love, he hopes for a son or daughter who can exceed what he has accomplished,” he once remarked. “That is what I found since Simone Beaubien took over the Cantab. She has created a persona beyond anyone who went before her.”

Beaubien quickly developed a knack for booking top talent, and a reputation for running a tight ship. Before long, audiences returned, and with them a new generation of star slammers. At NPS 2008 in Madison, Wisconsin, Beaubien led the team to its first Finals stage appearance since 1995. And this time, the number of teams they were competing against had ballooned to 75.

At the same time, Beaubien was bringing New England’s venues closer together. She founded and ran the New England Slam League, a recreational summer slam league. In 2008, that spun off and became the annual NorthBEAST Regional Poetry Slam, riffing off the name coined by Providence’s vibrant youth scene. Today, there are nine teams in the NorthBEAST collective, including slams in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and, of course, Massachusetts. Cambridge actually has two slams–the second, the Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam, was founded in 2000, and will also be hosting events at Nationals this year.

These days, the Cantab is filled to capacity nearly every Wednesday night, the open mic list fills up as soon as the doors open, and Beaubien is focused on running the biggest show in slam. Poetry Slam, Inc. is once again expecting over 70 teams from across North America. “If anyone can do it, it’s Simone,” says Cantab coach Brian S. Ellis. “What she’s done for this community is absolutely amazing.”

For Beaubien’s part, she thinks the community itself deserves the credit. “Poets who come here are always amazed at the quality of Boston audiences,” she says. “We’ve been in this game longer than just about anyone, so we’ve got a tradition, we’ve got a voice, and we know how to listen.”


Nerds, Haikus and Hip Hop to Spice Up National Poetry Slam

National Poetry Slam 2011 announces a smorgasbord of off-beat side event, August 9-13 in Boston and Cambridge

BOSTON, Mass., June 28, 2011 — For many of the hundreds of poets coming to Boston for the National Poetry Slam August 9-13, the main competition is just a warm-up. The highlights of the week are often the special events, which can run the gamut from offbeat to powerful to downright silly. Today, the Boston Poetry Slam announced the full slate of side events for NPS 2011, from low-key and brainy day events to wild and raucous late-night affairs. All events are open to the public and, unlike the main competition, most are open to anyone who wants to read.

Nationals’ main tournament events all happen at night, so day events are where poets flex their other muscles, hang out, and engage in all manner of quirky hijinx. “These events are at least half the reason to come to Nationals. At least,” says Day Events coordinator Adam Stone. “Every year The Nerd Slam and Head-to-Head Haiku draw huge crowds, but this year we’re also hosting a few downright ridiculous events for fun, like the Box of Doom Slam.”

Day event highlights include:

● Head-to-Head Haiku Slam — Do you think you’ve mastered the art of concise poetry? This three-day event will determine who has the best seventeen syllable poetry in Cambridge. Whether you call it haiku or senryu, this slam has its own special rules and unique judging system. If you plan on competing, you’re going to need dozens and dozens of haiku ready, as this is one of the most popular events at nationals.
● The Nerd Slam — This event isn’t about having the best poem on a nerdy topic. The Nerd Slam is an open reading where the actual poetry isn’t scored by judges, but the event is so popular that, in order to read, contestants must prove their “nerdspertise” by answering questions on a variety of topics from Einstein’s Theory On Relativity to Chris Claremont’s run on The Uncanny X-Men Comics. Wannabe readers choose the topic, and internationally famous nerd, Shappy Seasholtz, holds the questions and their fate. (Nerds, note well that Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Harry Potter are off-limits this year, as those popular nerd topics now have their own dedicated reading.)
● Rookie Open Mic — Every slam luminary had to get their start somewhere. Come see this year’s crop of Nationals newbies; you might catch the next big thing.
● Youth Slam — Documentaries like “Louder Than A Bomb” and “Brave New Voices” have proven that the next generation of poets is well on its way to establishing itself as one of the best in spoken word history. Come watch the local under-eighteen crowd swagger their way to the microphones. Be prepared to leave embarrassed by your own high school journal entries.
● Box of Doom Slam — Poets are given just three minutes to prepare to perform a poem they’ve drawn at random from a box. ‘Poems’ will range from terrible diary entries provided by other entrants to awful pop lyrics like Will Smith’s “Getting Jiggy With It.” Prizes may include never having to perform said piece in public ever again.

Late-night events are a whole different animal. “After their competitive bouts are over, poets tend to like to cut loose a little bit,” says Host City Director Simone Beaubien. “This is an opportunity for our 21-plus poets to party and play together, and we’re pleased to extend this invitation to the greater poetry community.” All events start at 11 pm. Here’s the lineup:

● Hip-Hop Headquarters — Marlon Carey, Rasul the Elder, and special guests host two nights of the finest freestyle and hip hop in the spoken word nation. Live DJs will throw down the beat and the gauntlet for aspiring emcees and established veterans. (Lizard Lounge, 1667 Mass. Ave, 8/10 and 8/11)
● Erotic Poetry Showcase — Put some earphones on your children, and tuck their heads under the covers, as April Ranger, Roger Bonair-Agard, and Jason Carney host the raunchiest event of the year. No topic is too taboo. There will be props and costumes that will make you consider that discount lobotomy clinic opening up in Allston this fall. But you’ll leave with stories to tell your grandkids when their parents get on your nerves. (Cantab Lounge, 738 Mass. Ave, 8/11)
● Poetry with the Jeff Robinson Trio — Once dubbed “the best poetry band in the country” by slam inventor Marc Smith, The Lizard Lounge’s own improvisational band provides the best poetry accompaniment on the planet. You’ll swear they spent months working on their arrangements. Hosted by Iyeoka Okoawo and ARTiculation. (Lizard Lounge, 8/9)
● Encyclopedia Show — Think you know a thing or two about the moon? Robbie Q Telfer and an ensemble of special guest poets, artists, and musicians will actually school you in all things lunar. This famed institution of learning, knowledge, poetry, and witty banter began as a monthly theme show in Chicago in 2008. Now franchised to cities around the country, the show was inaugurated at NPS last year. (All Asia, 334 Mass. Ave, 8/10)
● The Decathlon Slam — Part poetry slam, part track-and-field, and all goofy fun: Jesse Parent and friends attempt to reign in three pickup teams from poetry scenes all over the country, laying down improv group pieces, interpretive dance, eating contests, a heckling round… You name it, this slam’s got it! (All Asia, 8/11)
● The SlamMasters Slam — Remember that silent poet at the back of the room during bouts, high-fiving poets who left the stage and crunching the numbers faster than the scorekeepers? That’s the most experienced member of the team, the venue’s SlamMaster (who is frequently their coach, too). Here’s a chance to yank some of those poets out of retirement and see the competitive fire that brought them to slam in the first place. Hosted by Nick Fox. (Cantab, 8/9)
● Legends Showcase: Patricia Smith — The Pushcart Award winning co-founder of the Boston Poetry Slam, who also won a whopping four individual National Poetry Slam titles, and was a finalist for a National Book Award for her book, “Blood Dazzler”, returns home to show today’s slammers how it’s done. (Cantab, 8/10)

Lizard Lounge SlamMaster Jeff Robinson, says he’s looking forward to showing the rest of the poetry community what his band can do. “We have lots of experience working with poets, and we love doing it,” he says. “And the next night, you’ll definitely find me at Hip Hop Headquarters! It’s just great seeing music and poetry come together.”

Remember, anyone can sign up for most of these readings, from hardened NPS veterans to newcomers in the audience. You’ll be able to get into all of the events with a festival pass, which you can order at http://com. Tickets will also be available at the door on a first-come-first-serve basis.

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter at #nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.


NATIONAL POETRY SLAM 2011 VENUES ANNOUNCED

Ten Local Businesses to Provide Lodging and Competition Locations as Boston and Cambridge Hosts National Team Poetry Competition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTON, Mass., June 20, 2011 — The Boston Poetry Slam and Poetry Slam, Inc. today announced the official bout venues for the 2011 National Poetry Slam. The 2011 National Poetry Slam (NPS 2011) will be held in Cambridge and Boston, Mass., the week of August 9-13, 2011. This volunteer-run event brings together 72 competing teams of poets from around the country for an epic tournament to be held in nine venues across Central Square, Harvard Square and the Back Bay.

“We are very grateful for the support of these wonderful performance spaces, and can hardly wait to share them with the poets traveling from all over the country to compete in NPS,” said Host City Director Simone Beaubien. “We’re also looking forward to sharing the great audience that our poetry slams generate with these generous local businesses.”

The official NPS 2011 host hotel, where competing poets can find lodging the week of the event, is Le Meridien Cambridge, located at 20 Sidney Street (www.lemeridien.com/cambridge). Other local businesses selected as bout venues, where team competitions will be held, include:

  1. All Asia Cuisine & Cocktail Bar, 332 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (www.allasiabar.com)
  2. The Brattle Theater, 40 Brattle St., Cambridge (http://brattlefilm.org)
  3. Café 939, 939 Boylston St., Boston (http://www.berklee.edu/facilities/cafe939.html)
  4. Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre, 820 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (www.cambridgeymca.org)
  5. Cantab Lounge, 738 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (www.cantab-lounge.com)
  6. The Democracy Center, 45 Mt. Auburn St., Cambridge (www.democracycenter.org)
  7. Lizard Lounge, 1667 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (www.lizardloungeclub.com)
  8. Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub, 480 Mass. Ave., Cambridge (www.mideastclub.com)

“Twenty years ago, I wasn’t too sure about running a poetry event, but these guys have been packing people into my basement since they started back in 1991,” said Cantab Lounge owner Richard “Fitzie” Fitzgerald. “I’m giving them the run of the whole bar for the week, and I’ll bet we see sellout crowds.”

The finals of NPS 2011 will be held Saturday, August 13 at the Berklee Performance Center at the Berklee College of Music, 136 Mass. Ave., Boston (www.berkleepc.com). This electrifying finale to a week-long competition will pit the top four teams in a winner-take-all battle for the title of NPS 2011 team champion.

“Berklee College of Music is honored to host the final competition of the National Poetry Slam,” said Berklee Liberal Arts Chair Camille Colatosti. “As the premiere college of contemporary music, Berklee supports all artists and is proud to provide space for performance poets to express their own voices. Our own Berklee Poetry Slam Team students have much to learn from the finalists who will grace the Berklee Performance Center Stage.”

Passes for National Poetry Slam 2011 are now on sale to the general public. For more on the NPS2011 venues, including location and contact information, go tohttp://nps2011.com/getting-around/venue-map/.


Boston Poetry Slam To Hold First Ever MBTA Slam
The lines of the T face off in National Poetry Slam promo show

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 9 — With the National Poetry Slam fast approaching, the Boston Poetry Slam has announced the first-ever MBTA Slam, June 29 at the Cantab Lounge in Central Square. Teams of poets representing the Green Line, Red Line, Orange Line and Blue Line will compete for ultimate local bragging rights. It’s a distinctly Bostonian take on the kind of team competition audiences will see at the National Poetry Slam this August in Boston and Cambridge.

Oh, and did we mention all the poems will be about the subway lines themselves?

“What can I say? I’m a huge fan of poems about trains,” says organizer Steve Subrizi. “I’m pretty sure there’s nobody in this city who hasn’t had something hilarious or heartbreaking happen to them on the subway.”

The event also happens to coincide with the start of the National Poetry Slam’s ad campaign on the MBTA itself. Just two days after the MBTA Slam, 150 cards advertising National Poetry Slam 2011 will appear on Red Line and Orange Line trains. The space has been generously provided by the MBTA under its Pro Bono Car Card Program, in recognition of NPS’ value to the Greater Boston community.

“Rich Davey and the office of the MBTA were incredibly responsive and enthusiastic,” says NPS 2011 Development Director Michael Monroe. “We were thrilled with their clear commitment to supporting the local communities they serve through the arts.”

The MBTA Slam will be held downstairs at the Cantab Lounge at 738 Massachusetts Ave. in Central Square (near the Red Line, not to mention the 1, 47, 64, 68, 70, 73, 83 and 91 buses). Doors open at 7:15, with poetry starting at 8:00 with an open mic.

Apart from the offbeat premise, the slam will be run just like an NPS bout. In each round, each team will have a chance to send one or more poets to the stage, where they’ll perform their own original work. They’ll be judged by members of the audience, who will try their hardest not to discriminate against the Green Line.

“I wanted to do an event that showed off this format in a fun new way,” Cantab SlamMaster Simone Beaubien says. “Hopefully it’ll be a great celebration of our city, and draw some great new work out of our regular stars.”

The National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston and Cambridge August 9-13. For more information, visit www.nps2011.com.

About The Boston Poetry Slam
Boston Poetry Slam is Massachusetts’ longest-running slam poetry venue. Founded in 1991, the weekly competition is held at The Cantab Lounge, located at 738 Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge. The show begins at 8:00, and is hosted by SlamMaster Simone Beaubien. For more information, please visit http://slamnews.com.

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter @nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.


National Poetry Slam 2011 Festival Passes Go On Sale
Student passes available for the first time

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BOSTON, Mass., June 2, 2011 — Passes for the 2011 National Poetry Slam are now on sale, the Boston Poetry Slam and Poetry Slam Inc. announced today. Individual tickets will be available for each event during the festival, which takes place August 9-13 in Boston and Cambridge. The following passes will be available:

All Access Pass ($75) — Grants free admission to all official NPS 2011 events as listed on nps2011.com. Includes more than two dozen events, including day events, late-night events, preliminary competitions, semi-final competitions, Group Piece Finals, and team Finals.

Student All Access Pass ($60) — For our under-21 listeners only! Grants free admission to all under-21 NPS 2011 events as listed on nps2011.com. NPS 2011 guarantees the Student passholder free admission to all day events, at least two preliminary shows per weeknight, and team Finals.

Tournament Pass ($50) — Grants free admission to all 12 NPS 2011 evening competition events, from preliminary slams to semi-finals, plus Group Piece Finals and team Finals.

The Student Pass is a new addition this year, designed to appeal to Boston’s wealth of college students and young people.

Wearing the pass provides free admission to events, and helps passholders identify fellow poetry lovers. This year’s pass delivers more than just access to venues, as the bold, locally-contracted design will make it a collector’s item for fans of the National Poetry Slam.

Pass purchasers will receive a full-color laminated pass designed by poet/artist Danielle Carriveau. Each pass category showcases a different original sketch of a local performance poet based on photographs from artists Marshall Goff and Richard Beaubien.

“I loved designing these passes thanks to such a great supply of source photographs! It’s an honor to offer the poets and poetry lovers memorabilia that truly represents Beantown as the 2011 National Slam Host City,” said Ms. Carriveau, “I can’t wait to see all those colorful passes walking around Cambridge and Boston!”

Passes must be picked up in person during the festival at the official NPS 2011 hotel, Le Meridien in Central Square, Cambridge. Pickup times and more detailed information on the passes is available at http://nps2011.com.

“I love walking from venue to venue at Nationals and watching poets recognize each other just by their passes,” says NPS Host City Director Simone Beaubien. “The festival has so much to offer listeners that we see folks wearing them twenty-four hours a day.”

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter @nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.

About Poetry Slam, Inc.

Poetry Slam, Inc. is the official non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams, setting the rules and vision that the vast majority of slams around the country adhere to. PSI has created the backbone for a community of poets, in order to pool ideas and share creative resources to insure the future growth and recognition of slam.


BOSTON SLAMMASTER SIMONE BEAUBIEN TO APPEAR ON WGBH’S CALLIE CROSSLEY RADIO SHOW

Local Public Radio Program Observes National Poetry Month with Guests From the Literary and Slam Community on Monday, April 25 at 1 p.m.

What: Boston SlamMaster Simone Beaubien talks about National Poetry Month, the National Poetry Slam and more on the Callie Crossley Show, a live interview/call-in program on Boston’s public radio station, WGBH 89.7.

Who: Simone Beaubien, SlamMaster of the Boston Poetry Slam at the Cantab Lounge and Host City Director of the 2011 National Poetry Slam, along with David Orr, poetry critic for the New York Times and National Book Award finalist and Emerson College Writer in Residence Gail Mazur.

Where: The Callie Crossley Show, featuring award-winning journalist Callie Crossley. This popular program offers a daily discussion of local happenings, arts and culture, and water cooler buzz from Boston and New England. The show can be found on WGBH channel FM 89.7, on iTunes, and streamed live on http://www.wgbh.org.

When: Monday, April 25, 2011, at 1:00 p.m.

Why: With the National Poetry Month going on right now, and the National Poetry Slam coming to Boston this summer, Ms. Beaubien has been asked to discuss the state of performance poetry, the evolution of slam, and more, with two distinguished voices from the world of academic poetry.

Media contacts wishing to schedule one-on-one interviews with members of the Boston Slam Community, or to find out more about the 2011 National Poetry Slam, please e-mail[email protected].


POETS FACE OFF FOR NATIONAL POETRY MONTH
Boston, Providence, Manchester and Worcester form teams for National Poetry Slam

BOSTON, Mass. March 16, 2011 – April is National Poetry Month, and New England’s poetry slam teams are celebrating with their most intense competitions of the year. The National Poetry Slam is coming to Boston for the first time since 1992, and this month you can see local poets duke it out for the right to represent the home teams in several intense multi-night tournaments. The run-up to the summer’s landmark event starts now.

Inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month is now held every April across the United States, observed by publishers, libraries, and literary organizations of all stripes. And venues like the Boston Poetry Slam celebrate the best way they know how: with a no-holds-barred, no-story-left-untold battle royale pitting all of the year’s slam winners against each other in pursuit of a handful of coveted team slots. And this year, in anticipation of the National Poetry Slam, there will also be a special event: an epic rivalry bout between New York and Boston.
The schedule for April’s National Poetry Month events is as follows:
Boston vs. New York “Grudge Match,” Friday, April 1, 2011 at Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA. Doors at 7:00 — Teams of all-star poets from Boston and New York face off in an exciting rivalry match in front of a crew of celebrity judges. There will also be a special performance from the Whiskey Boys fiddle duo and comedian/actress Aimee Rose Ranger and musician Ruby Rose Fox.
Boston Poetry Slam Team Selection Slams, Wednesdays, April 6, 20 and 27 at the Cantab Lounge, 738 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA. Doors at 7:15 — Close to twenty poets are expected to compete for spots on the most storied slam team in the region. Competition is expected to be especially fierce this year in anticipation of Nationals, with several big names from out of town hoping to make the home team. The Cantab team has twice won the national championship, and made five finals appearances — most recently in 2008.
Lizard Lounge Team Selection Slams, Sundays, April 3, 10 and 17 at the Lizard Lounge, 1665 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA. Doors at 7:30 — These three nights of slams will determine who will represent the Lizard Lounge, the other of Cambridge’s two teams. After each slam there will be a featured poet accompanied by an improv jazz trio. On April 10, the past and future of slam collide, as Boston Poetry Slam co-founder Michael Brown takes on that feature slot.

Worcester Poet Asylum’s Team Selection Slams, Sundays, April 3 and 17 in the WCUW Front Room, 910 Main Street in Worcester, MA. Doors at 7:00 — These slams will determine who will represent Worcester’s team, one of the oldest in the country.
Providence Poetry Slam Team Semi-Final, Thursday, April 19, at AS220, 115 Empire Street in Providence, RI. Doors at 7:30 — The first night of competition to decide who will make Providence’s premier slam team. Providence famously won the title in 1996, in a title run captured in the documentary Slam Nation. The final team will be selected at the Providence Grand Slam on May 5.
Slam Free or Die Team Semi-Finals, Thursday, April 14 and 28 at Milly’s Tavern, 500 Commercial Street in Manchester, NH. Doors at 7:00 — The first two nights of competition to see who will represent New Hampshire’s only slam team at the National Poetry Slam. Finals will be held May 7.

For the full schedule of events and Cambridge and Boston venues, please visitwww.nps2011.com.

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter @nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.


Boston to Battle New York in Poetry Grudge Match

SOMERVILLE, Mass., – Thursday, March 11, 2011: The Boston Poetry Slam kicks off National Poetry Month with the biggest grudge match of the year! Eight New York City poetry slam notables will take on eight Boston all-stars, in a competition for big-city rivalry bragging rights in time for Cambridge’s upcoming 2011 National Poetry Slam.

New York and Boston have long been storied rivals in the still-underground art-turned-sport of poetry slam. In this fast-paced competition, poets from each city will use all the tricks of their trade— lyricism, comedy, political fury, and straight-up heartfelt personal narrative— to impress audience and judges in the slam’s first foray into the town of Somerville!

Taking place at the newly restored Arts at the Armory space, this might be the most fierce conflict the building has seen since it was built in 1903. “This is the most hot-blooded rivalry match since I beat my twin sister out of our mother’s womb,” said producer April Ranger, whose identical twin will also be performing.

All-star poets include: Bowery Poetry Club SlamMaster Jeanann Verlee (NYC), Berklee College of Music Poet-in-Residence Caroline Harvey (Boston), 2010 National WOWPS Champion Eboni Hogan (NYC), and 2008 National team finalists Brian S. Ellis and Omoizele Okoawo (Boston), to name just a few. They’ll be judged by five hyper-critical American-Idol-style judges, including 1998 National Poetry Slam Regie Gibson (Chicago) and 1997 National Master’s Champion Richard Cambridge (Boston).

The show opens promptly at 7:00 with a performance by The Whiskey Boys, a high-energy fiddle and guitar duo from Jamaica Plain. The slam will follow, hosted by 1998 Lollapalooza poet Dawn Gabriel, and the night will close with special performances by actress/comedian Aimee Rose Ranger and musician Ruby Rose Fox. Admission to this all-ages event is $10, and all proceeds go to help produce the 2011 National Poetry Slam right here in Cambridge this August.

This National Poetry Month event is produced by April Ranger and the Boston Poetry Slam, and sponsored by the Boston Poetry Slam and Poetry Slam, Inc. All proceeds will benefit the 2011 National Poetry Slam, scheduled to take place in Cambridge and Boston this August.

Relevant details:

Friday, April 1
7:00-10:00 p.m. (doors at 6:30)
Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Avenue, Somerville, MA 02143
All ages, $10
Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=158340764220330
Venue website: http://www.artsatthearmory.org
Proceeds to benefit: http://www.nps2011.com

Press photos are available upon request.

———–

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter @nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.


Boston to Host National Poetry Slam
Poetry’s top competition comes to Beantown for first time since 1992

BOSTON, Mass. March 9, 2011 — The National Poetry Slam, the biggest poetry competition in North America, is coming to Boston and Cambridge the week of August 9-13, the Boston Poetry Slam and Poetry Slam Inc. have announced. Hundreds of the country’s best performance poets will descend on the city for a week-long team tournament to crown the national champion. There will also be a variety of quirky individual competitions, writing workshops, and other special events.

“The National Poetry Slam is the biggest poetry slam in the world, and I’m so proud and excited to be bringing it to our home turf,” says Host City Director Simone Beaubien. “I can hardly wait to share the spectacle and fun of this world-class event with our home community.”

Held every year, the National Poetry Slam (NPS 2011) is the Olympics of performance poetry. Teams from around the country perform their own original work in the hopes of impressing judges randomly selected from the audience. The festivities will kick off on August 8, 2011 and run daily through August 13 at a variety of venues around Cambridge. Then the top-performing teams of the week will meet for a final bout at the Berklee Performance Center in Boston. This will be the first time Boston has hosted the event since 1992—the third National Poetry slam ever.

“The basic rules of slam haven’t changed a bit since Boston last held NPS,” says Beaubien. “The major difference is how popular the movement has become; the event has swelled from 16 teams at NPS 1992 to 76 at NPS 2010, and we’re expecting up to 84 this year in Boston.”

Beaubien is the SlamMaster at the Boston Poetry Slam, one of the oldest and most respected slam venues in the country. It’s home to one of nine New England teams in the “NorthBEAST” collective, which will host inter-state slams throughout the year in preparation for the national event.

“I feel like I just won the lottery or something,” says Lizard Lounge SlamMaster Jeff Robinson. “This is a great event for one of the the country’s greatest poetry cities.”

For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. High resolution images available on request.

About The Boston Poetry Slam
The Boston Poetry Slam is Massachusetts’ longest-running slam poetry venue. Founded in 1991, the weekly competition is held at The Cantab Lounge, located at 738 Massachusetts Ave in Cambridge. The show begins at 8:00, and is hosted by SlamMaster Simone Beaubien. For more information, please visit http://slamnews.com.

About Poetry Slam, Inc.
Poetry Slam, Inc. is the official non-profit organization charged with overseeing the international coalition of poetry slams, setting the rules and vision that the vast majority of slams around the country adhere to. PSI has created the backbone for a community of poets, in order to pool ideas and share creative resources to insure the future growth and recognition of slam.

About the National Poetry Slam
The National Poetry Slam is America’s biggest team poetry slam. Held every year since 1990, it is the definitive showcase for competitive performance poetry. Billed as “the competitive art of performance poetry,” Slam was invented in Chicago in July 1986 by construction worker-turned-poet Marc Smith. It is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. This year, the 22nd annual National Poetry Slam will be held in Boston, Massachusetts, and expects to draw a record number of teams. For more information, visit http://nps2011.com. Follow NPS2011 on Twitter @nationalslam, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NPS2011.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 31, 2010

2011 National Poetry Slam to Be Held in Cambridge and Boston

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Boston Poetry Slam, in conjunction with Poetry Slam, Inc., is pleased to announce that the 2011 National Poetry Slam will be held in Cambridge and Boston. This event will invite nearly 400 poets to the city to participate in competition, workshops, and festival events beginning Monday, August 8, and continuing through Saturday, August 13.

Poetry Slam is conventionally defined as “the art of competitive performance poetry.” Tracing its roots to the Green Mill in Chicago, slam is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience: storytelling, lyricism, and stand-up comedy all come together in what’s evolved to a modern oral tradition. Slam is not a passive performance; in addition to the judges, other audience members are strongly encouraged to participate by cheering, whistling, or mildly heckling the hosts or judges.

This year will mark the twenty-first annual National Poetry Slam. Although Boston has been represented at each of the events, and credited with more than one championship, the city has not hosted NPS since 1992. This long-awaited return to Boston will be facilitated by one of the world’s oldest poetry slams, the Boston Poetry Slam @ the Cantab Lounge.

Hundreds of poets –national competitors, hosts, and staff, as well as members of Poetry Slam, Inc.– will converge on the city to compete for the championship. Preliminary competition for the event begins on Tuesday, August 9, 2011, and continues through Thursday, August 11. Each team will slam in two four-team bouts in an effort to achieve semi-finals or Group Piece Finals on Friday, August 12. The top four teams will compete in the National Poetry Slam Finals on Saturday, August 13.

For just under a week, poetry will rule the roost in Cambridge as competitors take over bars, coffeehouses, clubs, and theaters to see who will be crowned the National Champion. Don’t miss it!

Simone Beaubien, Host City Director
2011 National Poetry Slam

http://www.nps2011.com