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Slam Bam

The makeup of Denver's national slam poetry teams -- Slam Nuba and the Mercury Cafe -- has been determined in the past couple of weeks, and now, last but not least, the youth division, Minor Disturbance, will host a Grand Slam tonight to choose its team for this year's Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Festival in Chicago. Brave New Voices is the top of the mountain for youth slam poets, and -- by the way -- Minor Disturbance took last year's crown.

Youth coach and mentor Ken Arkind credits Denver's adult slam community with giving the local kids what they need to prepare for a major competition; it's an invaluable asset and maybe their secret weapon. Folks like Arkind are there to mold talent and passions that already exist and revel in the young poets' accomplishments. And though there's always an element of surprise in the slam poetry world, Arkind likes Minor Disturbance's chances in 2013.

"They’re pretty good," he says. "They’re honest. Even if the story they're telling is fictional, it comes from an honest place." Twelve poets will make the final cut tonight, in a field that includes last year's winners, and it's a good sign that something's working, Arkind notes, since the selection process was amended this year to give points for participation in character-building workshops and community-service projects; former Minor Disturbance poet Mary McDonough will coach the lucky dozen. Also on their side? Minor Disturbance has entered a fiscal partnership with that will expand the group's resources.

Performances, hosted by MD alumni Jozer Guerrero and Kevin Kantor, begin at 7 p.m. at Su Teatro, 721 Santa Fe Drive; admission, which goes to fund the final team's travel expenses, is $7 to $15. For more information, visit the Facebook event page.
Tue., April 23, 6:30 p.m., 2013


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