The National Poetry Slam is Dead

Crazy busy at work and home this week but, along with managing my GSL fantasy football draft, I’ve been surfing around for the scoop on Nationals. (LA won by the way; Nuyorican came in second and San Jose’s Mike McGee won the indies.) Between Blogger and LiveJournal, I suspect the poetry_slam list will be rather light with the good stuff, but that’s probably a good thing as people are being much more honest in their journals. Seems the biggest topic is Marc Smith’s hosting of the Finals which is being roundly lambasted as an embarrasment to the community. Surprise! What did people expect from him, especially after the Chicago Reader interview?

My absolute favorite so far has been RAC’s write-up, a typically blunt assessment of the whole affair, including an honest critique of people she considers friends. Imagine THAT as a concept! Most of the blogs I’ve got linked on the right have good commentary on Nationals, too. Be sure to read the respective comments as some interesting discussions are taking place.

Biggest thing I’m sensing about 2003 is that Nationals peaked in 1999 with 2,000 people at the Chicago Theater for the Finals and NY Times and 60 Minutes coverage. This year’s Finals apparently didn’t even fill the 1,500-seat theater at the Navy Pier, despite having 15 more teams competing this year, and has gotten zero national attention. SlamAmerica has been the only PSI thing to get any significant attention since then and Def Poetry has pretty much taken over from there. With the next two Nationals in St. Louis and Albuquerque (?!?!?!), things aren’t likely to get any better as the National Poetry Slam becomes a quaint roadshow for new poets/performers and aging vets unable to take the next step.

Interestingly, Marc Smith apparently announced a $20,000 NEA grant that PSI got recently. Wonder where that money will end up and when the IRS will finally see fit to audit their books? I think they’d find some very interesting things. Wonder if they have a tip line…?

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