UrbanArtistry is a nonprofit program, (supported by the Claude Harvard Foundation), dedicated to bringing art to young and old in the most interesting ways. This journal will have comments from those participating in the first UrbanArtistry workshop in Detroit, Michigan as well as the other events to follow. UrbanArtistry:Detroit creative focus is POETRY. Come journey with us as we explore the arts and contribute to the greatest good!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Experiencing the SLAM


UrbanArtistry: Detroit not only gave the local young poets new experiences but me too! April 1, 2005 I happened to be in town on a qualifying night for the chance to make the Detroit's Slam team. Hey, I'd never participated in one before yet heard good to not so good things about them from older established poets. Before I could add my two cents I thought I needed to participate and get that investigative first hand experience. Well, to my surprise (luck, quality of other performer poets, and whimsy of judges) I made it to the semi-finals. After being told to come to the Max at 8:30 on the 15th I left the Meetery Eatery.

I arrived at the Max on April 15, 2005 and was promptly disqualified because I was late. After paying my $10 and demanding a valid reason for my disqualification, I was told I'd been contacted via email and phone about the time change. I never got an email and I realized after listening to my messages the phone call came on the day of the competition. I also realized I'd would have never been able to rearrange my life on such short notice to make the 2.5 hour drive to the city, but hey I was here mainly for the slam experience. My fate as a participant was put to a vote of the other competing poets. They let me participate and I got the great opportunity

I lost and I won. Now I know what my two cents are about slams... I love every part of them except the randomness of the judges. I mean I don't play the lottery or otherwise gamble with my heard earned money, so why would I subject my poetry to the scrutiny of randomly picked fleas?

I was most shut down by one former "judge" (she'd "judged" me in the qualifying round) who approached me after the Max event and said, "I'm surprised. You did better than I thought you would."

Though I thought "Fleas think?" my curiosity had me ask, "Why would you say that?"

Her reply: "You don't sound Detroit enough."

True, I don't live in the city any more but before I left I lived on Pennslyvania, the BLVD, Grandy, Steel, Lennox, Wayburn, Medbury, Elgin, Charles, etc... so I realized fleas don't think but they should before they speak.


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