Them’s carving words

Local Poetry Slam

Positive vibes were flowing last Saturday night at CSU’s BMU basement, where local poets gathered to compete in a poetry slam contest. Although only eight contestants performed, the basement was filled with an array of spectators who came to watch and support the slam.

Chico State professor Nandi Crosby rocked the mic as MC. Working as the slam’s inspirational source, Crosby helped raise the energy of the crowd and encouraged everyone to spread the love for those on stage. She even graced the audience with one of her own slams, setting a precedent for what hopefully would follow.

Unfortunately, only about half of the contestants were actually “slammin'” and could be deemed performance artists. The other half should have read their works-in-progress at Has Beans poetry open-mic night on Mondays.

The idea of slam poetry is to perform with energy, rhythm and confidence. It is not a venue for simply reading a poem; it’s for wielding the spoken word as a sword, to carve words into people’s hearts and minds and leave them begging for more. The contestants who did win prizes were the most successful at performing and using their words to emblazon meaning and significance into their pieces.

Each contestant had five minutes to perform before receiving his or her votes from the five judges. David Hanley Tenative won $100 for first place, Jamel Shakir won $50 for second place, and a fellow identified only as Joshua won $25 for third place.