Sleepless slamming

The Sleepless Goat kicks off a slam poetry series

From left to right: slam poets Arianna Pozzuoli, Ali Pow, Matt Shultz, Sherry Huang, Winona Linn, Anne Graham, Raissa Killoran and Greg Frankson.
From left to right: slam poets Arianna Pozzuoli, Ali Pow, Matt Shultz, Sherry Huang, Winona Linn, Anne Graham, Raissa Killoran and Greg Frankson.
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There was barely room to stand at the Kingston Poetry Slam on Sunday night. The event at the Sleepless Goat kicked off Kingston’s Poetry Slam season. Organizers will run slams at the Goat until September.

Each contest will consist of seven contestants, one microphone and one emcee. Poets perform twice and are judged on delivery and content by three randomly selected audience members. Scores at the Goat were given on a one to ten scale. The time limit was three minutes, with a penalty of 0.5 for every five seconds exceeded.

Any time a poet stumbled and forgot their verse, the audience snapped their fingers until the poet could collect themselves. The poems had no musical accompaniment.

Some poets were better with rhyme and rhythm and others threw in dramatic techniques, like having a conversation by changing their voice intonation.

While many slams were performed by memory, winner Anne Graham’s second slam, “Late Bloomer,” was read off a piece of paper. This was Graham’s first time performing at a slam. Long-time Kingston resident, Winona Linn, a fourth-year student at the University of King’s College will fly in every month from Halifax to host the slam.

While living in Kingston during a break from school, Linn decided to enter a Kingston team for the 2011 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word (CFSW). She competed with a Halifax team the previous year.

“It dawned on me that I wanted to have a team for CFSW when I took a semester off from school,” she said. “I wasn’t living in Halifax but I wanted to compete at the nationals. So I started a scene, I started a series so I could collect the poets and go to nationals. It was purely a selfish act but it paid off.”

This will be Kingston’s second season of Slam Poetry. The Kingston Slam Poetry team went to CFSW to compete at the nationals in Toronto last year and finished fourth out of 20. This year the competition will be held in Saskatoon in October.

Raissa Killoran, ArtSci ’10, discovered the Kingston slam scene over the summer.

“This was really the first time I was able to get involved and consistently write and do poetry regularly,” she said. “There wasn’t really an outlet for that before.”

Kingston Slam will be held on the last Sunday of every month, beginning at 8 p.m. at the Sleepless Goat. The next date is Feb. 26.

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