Last Poet Standing

In the world of slam poetry, competing as a team and competing as an individual are two different beasts, as Suzi Q. Smith, a member of this year's Slam Nuba team (which made it to the national semi-finals last month, only to fall in a sudden-death slam-off), can attest. "When I'm up there by myself, there's a lot less pressure," she says. "It's much less intense for me, because my individual pieces are already a part of my life, all the time. These are the pieces that I live in; I don’t have to do a lot extra work. But there's also not the same kind of camaraderie." And Smith will be watching at tonight's local Individual World Poetry Slam Rep Slam-Off, at which Denver's sole representative for the IWPS nationals in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in October will be determined. This will include fast and furious poetry performance by a healthy handful of poets who've already qualified for the honor of trying out. The solo competition's unique format, Smith adds, will allow the artists to trot out works of different lengths, some not usually heard by an audience.

Smith, who will be in Fayetteville in her capacity as a national Poetry Slam, Inc. boardmember, is not competing, but she's full of praise for those who are. "Some of Denver's strongest slam poets will be competing for a chance to represent Denver in the individuals," she notes with pride. "We’ve done pretty well here in Denver; we've seen our teams in the final stages at almost every major slam poetry event for years now. We've had semi-finalists in every slam for the last six or seven years. When you’re talking Denver slam, these are all serious competitors on the national scale." All of them honed their skills in Denver's rich slam scene and know their way around their words.

The slam-off kicks off at 6:30 p.m. at Slam Nuba's home, the Crossroads Theater, 2590 Washington Street, and ends with the last poet standing. Visit the Facebook event page for details.
Mon., Sept. 3, 6:30 p.m., 2012

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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