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Poetic expression comes to Sandy

Old-fashioned poetry slam to bring creative minds together

Taken from its inception in the mid-1980s, a poetry slam is a happening for creative souls.

Another of these mind-stretching events, begun by poet Marc Smith at a Chicago jazz club years ago, will tease local literary minds in the Sandy Public Library on April 18.

That gives area writers a month to write their best or touch up earlier poetic expression.

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

“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 Public 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 Library, and it is just in time for Poetry Month (April) and National Library Week (April 14-20). The poetry slam will be held from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, April 18, in the library’s Community Room, 38980 Proctor Blvd.

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, the 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.”

Interested performers can register online at cityofsandy.com/library or pick up a registration form at the library. The deadline is April 11.

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

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

Audience members (including performers) will receive 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 also will 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.

For more information, call 503-784-2044.

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