Poets slam their way to art

"The poetry slam was born nearly 20 years before in a Chicago bar as a drunken challenge between two dueling verse-twirlers.Sunday afternoon's slam at the San Carlos, the first-ever sanctioned such event for Bainbridge Island's teens, was a far calmer affair - in presentation if not in theme. And that's the point, according to the event's emcee, Michael Ricciardi of Auburn's Spoken Word Lab.It's poetry meets professional wrestling, said Ricciardi, who himself has been a part of several Seattle-area nation slam championship-contender teams. Without the body contact. Hopefully. "

  • Wednesday, November 8, 2000 7:00am
  • News

“The poetry slam was born nearly 20 years before in a Chicago bar as a drunken challenge between two dueling verse-twirlers.Sunday afternoon’s slam at the San Carlos, the first-ever sanctioned such event for Bainbridge Island’s teens, was a far calmer affair – in presentation if not in theme. And that’s the point, according to the event’s emcee, Michael Ricciardi of Auburn’s Spoken Word Lab.It’s poetry meets professional wrestling, said Ricciardi, who himself has been a part of several Seattle-area nation slam championship-contender teams. Without the body contact. Hopefully.Six Bainbridge high schoolers competed before an audience of about 25 for riches (okay, thirty bucks) and fame (well, a chance to participate in the next slam playoff in March – and, potentially, a shot at the national championship).The mellifluously crafted meter included tales of wartime Spain, of rape, of suicide, of personal bleakness, and the blue eyes of a certain unnamed water polo player. All were assessed on a scale of 1 to 10 by three judges (including, in the interest of full disclosure, a press-ganged Bainbridge Review reporter).The water poloist poem was one of the works read by the eventual winner, junior Kristina Scocca. She came away with a $30 gift certificate – runner-up Braeden Duncan got $20 – and both earned invitations to the March playoff.I don’t really think my poetry’s that great, said Scocca, a first-timer who came to the event largely to support her friend, Raquel Russo – who just missed advancing to the final round with her poem, My Affair With Jesus.I’m a big limerick writer. I do it mostly to entertain my friends.Scocca won the slam by one-tenth of a point – 21.5 out of a possible 30 – ahead of Duncan, who was so nervous she couldn’t complete a first reading without a restroom trip. Finishing third was Ned Thorne, who offered robust readings of his literary historical verse.Also participating were Russo, Erin Ebert, and Erin Merle.In Ricciardi’s view, all the poems presented were uniformly excellent, as part of the quarterly Bainbridge Island Arts Walk.But performance does make a difference, he said. “

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