Denver's share of the country's slam-poetry scene is already a large one, with two nationally competitive teams and a role as the reigning national champion city. But from March 7 to 10, its role will grow even bigger as Denver hosts its first national slam competition, the five-year-old Women of the World Poetry Slam. Sponsored by Poetry Slam, Inc., the four-day event (mentioned in this week's cover story, "Slam, Bam, Thank You, Ma'am") will attract hundreds of international poets to compete for the art's top female spot.
This hosting gig is both an opportunity for visiting poets to experience the city's slam scene and a chance for Denver to prove itself. In addition to celebrating women in poetry, Denver will be able to strut its organizational stuff and put itself in position for larger hosting roles (including, ahem, the National Poetry Slam). The city's swath of styles and artists makes it a prime candidate for a major presence on the national scene.
"You have to put in a bid like it's the Olympics or something," says Suzi Q. Smith, one of the organizers of Denver's Women of the World Poetry Slam. Last year, Denver's first offer to host the National Poetry Slam was shut down, which made local poets "twice as excited when we were approved to host such a huge event for female poets in 2012," she notes. Watch Women of the World's video promo:
In order to earn the gig, Denver's organizers underwent an extensive vetting process to prove that both the city's cultural and marketing talents were sufficient to host a large-scale event. "We're going to do this in style," Smith promises. "The entire process has been pretty stressful, but in the end we're going to dazzle. I don't feel like we have that much to prove, but we'll prove it either way."
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Those who missed earlier chances to make it on the competition's roster can begin their time at WOW with one last opportunity to join. On March 7, the first twelve poets to sign up for the Last Chance Slam will earn an opportunity to compete for the competition's final slot. That same night includes a welcome party in preparation for the rounds split across three venues -- Leela European Cafe, Eden and the Mercury Cafe -- for the next three days. The final round will be at the Denver Art Museum on March 10.
But the weekend is not all about competition: In between slam bouts, both the poets and their audiences can participate in a spectrum of events that includes physical competition, writing workshops, hip-hop, obstacle courses and the opportunity for the men in the crowd to show the love (for their women).
For the complete schedule of events, visit Women of the World's website.
To read more about local female poet Suzi Q. Smith, go to: -"Video: Suzi Q. Smith performs her most popular piece -"Suzi Q. Smith, this week's cover poet, nominated for a Cultural Arts Leader award" -"Suzi Q. Smith: Read the poetry created by this week's cover artist" -"Video: Suzi Q. Smith slams with champions Bobby LeFebre and Theo Wilson"