Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I Slammed with Mike McGee

Monday night was the second-to-last regular slam of the season, and what a night it was! There are still at least half a dozen poets determined to qualify for the semi-finals, and almost everyone had great new poems. I have never seen so much new energy and creativity at the slam as I did last night. Feature poet Laura Moran was superb. She has been part of the Poetry Slam in the US since it began, and hosted the 2000 National Poetry Slam in Providence. She performed poems about mythology, literature, society and love. She's a smart and talented performer and a warm, encouraging presence. I was lucky to share a table with her at the cafe for the evening.

Mike McGee is in town recording a CD with Shane Koyczan and CR Avery. Together they make up T.O.F.U. Mike is one of my favourite poets. He is hilariously funny and astonishingly real. He is a champion of champions on the poetry slam scene and a champion in my heart. I've met him a couple times before, but he has always been at the slam as feature. On Monday he competed. I had the combined honour/nightmare of being called up to perform immediately after Mike McGee.

As much as I want to make the semis, I understood the situation. I was surrounded by incredibly talented and determined poets, all performing their very best material. I was up next after the best, kindest, most successful slam poet in the world. All I could do was go up and have fun. It was liberating to just perform my poem the way I always tell myself to: as a gift to myself and audience, a celebration of my voice, dancing naked in the rain. Winning ceases to be important because I have already won, just by being there.

So I performed my new poem called "Stonehenge." The audience liked it, I felt right inside it. I didn't even make the second round, but that's okay. There's one more chance in two weeks. I don't think Mike will slam again, but his being there just helped me get over being fixated on making it to the semi-finals. There will always be lots and lots of good poets. I am one of them. More often that I could ever hope for, I will have the opportunity to perform in the presence of great poets. The best part is not the winning. It's the dance. It's the dance. It's the dance.

Question: ever heard an angel with the voice of Sean Connery?

mompoet - these feet are happy on the ground

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