Slam Poetry Judge

Posted in GSU photo archive, Poem, Undogegorized by chamblee54 on September 12, 2016








PG showed up at Java Monkey on sunday night. He knew there was going to be a slam competition. This means no open mike. Thinking that slam meant memorized, PG decided not to enter. (It doesn’t. Several poets read.) A few minutes later, the host asked for judges. PG recklessly raised his hand.

The format was simple. Twelve poets performed in the first round, eight in the second round, which narrows to six in round three. Poets have three minutes, and lose points if they go over. Judges rate poets from zero point zero, to ten point zero. From five judges, the top three scores are counted. People get points, based on their finish in the preliminary round. In a few months, people with the most points will participate in the finals.

The judges are given a small yellow pad, and a sharpie. At the end of each poem, the host calls for the scores. The lowest score is usually booed. Anyone sitting in front of a judge can see the score. It has the potential to get nasty, although that did not happen sunday.

Judging slam competition is different from listening to open mike. On a normal sunday, you listen to the people. (Unless you choose to wander around, and only show up for your performance. This is frowned upon.) Some you enjoy more than others. Some get cheers and applause, some get a polite golf clap. When you are judging, you have to assign a number, without much time to think.

The highest score PG gave was a nine point seven. This was in the second round. Nate Mask, a Java Monkey regular, gave a powerful piece about gun violence. It mentioned citizen on citizen killing, several mass killings, in addition to police killing citizens. This was the best poem of the evening. In the pictures, Mr. Mask is the man with a beard, and a hat.

The winner was Ryan. In the pictures, he is the young man in the long sleeve white shirt. In the first round, Ryan used the N-word. In the second and third rounds, he gave powerful performances about his family story. Ryan was a deserving winner of the September Second Sunday Slam.

At the end of the evening, PG was given a T shirt from the National Poetry Slam. A few weeks ago, PG pulled those shirts out of a box, and put them on a table during registration. Pictures today are from “The Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University Library”. .










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