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Here's a performance treat: a poetry slam

Walk-ons are allowed in this performance poetry challenge


For people whose best form of creative expression is words, the city of Sandy has organized a Poetry Slam, following the old style slams that began in the mid-’80s.

A poetry slam, said event coordinator Katie Murphy, is a form of “performance poetry.”

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Scott Poole will be master of ceremonies at the Poetry Slam coming to Sandy on Thursday, April 18. Poole has published three books of poetry and is the 'house poet' of the Live Wire radio program. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO“The poetry slam has become popular across the country,” she said, “and has reinvented the image of poetry as a relevant and exciting form of expression.”

The Sandy Library will play host to master of ceremonies Scott Poole, “house poet” of the Live Wire radio program. Poole is the author of three books of poetry and the founding director of the Portland book festival, Wordstock.

The poetry slam is a new event for the Sandy Public Library, and it is just in time for Poetry Month (April) and National Library Week (April 14-20).

Poems at a poetry slam can be from a diverse range of styles including love, social commentary, comic routines and personal confessionals.

Because the Sandy Library’s poetry slam is an all-ages event, topics and language must be appropriate for all ages. Besides that exclusion, any type of poem is welcome.

Murphy says it is a good idea for contestants to practice performing the poem, to make sure it sounds interesting when spoken. At a poetry slam, performance is as important as the written words.

The Sandy Library poetry slam is based on the usual model, but will use a less critical form of judging. Instead of the usual panel of judges scoring the poems and performances, the audience will vote by ballot box.

This poetry slam will give each local resident an opportunity to share his or her original poetry or to share a favorite poem with the audience. Poets may perform individually or in a group.

“Whether you’re a poet or not,” Murphy said, “come to support the poets and cast your vote.”

The night of the event, there will be a program listing the names of all pre-registered performers and the poems they will be reading.

Walk-in registration is also allowed; however, names of walk-in contestants will not be printed in the program.

Audience members (including performers) will be given a copy of the program along with a ballot on which they will mark their favorite performance in each category.

Votes will be tallied after all poems have been presented, and winners will be announced that night. Winners will also be listed on the library website and bulletin board and in local newspapers.

Refreshments will be provided. The event is free and open to all ages.

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