Get Your Slam On

From his vantage point in the Denver poetry scene as a co-founder of the Mercury Cafe’s poetry slam team, Ian Dougherty saw that a lot of young poets out there want help with improving their work. But, especially in the slam-poetry arena, there’s not a whole lot of instruction going on, particularly if you’re not in school. At the same time, Shannon Fraley-Piserchio of the Bookery Nook wanted to host a regular poetry event at the store. Through a mutual friend, the simpatico duo discovered common ground, and the idea for Labtop Poetry, a combined workshop and open-mike series at the Bookery, was born.

Labtop will meet twice monthly from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., for a workshop on the second Monday and an open mike on the third; tonight’s inaugural event features Slam Nuba poet Ayinde Russell, a choice Dougherty praises unequivocally. “I had a chance to work with Ayinde on the Merc team in 2009, and he’s an absolutely incredible writer and a dynamic performer; he has an amazing stage presence,” he says. “His work is some of the best around in making the jump from the page onto the stage.” That’s a good start — and in the future, Dougherty, who touts the event with the slogan “Get in the Lab,” hopes to mix up presenters, offering alternating male and female perspectives as well as lecturers from genres other than slam poetry.

Labtop Poetry is free and open to people age eighteen and older. The Bookery Nook is at 4280 Tennyson Street; for information, visit or look up Labtop Poetry on Facebook.
Mon., Sept. 13, 6:30-8:30 p.m., 2010

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Susan Froyd started writing for Westword as the "Thrills" editor in 1992 and never quite left the fold. These days she still freelances for the paper in addition to walking her dogs, enjoying cheap ethnic food and reading voraciously. Sometimes she writes poetry.
Contact: Susan Froyd

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