Hi there poets! Below is a rare weekend recap for you all. But not just any weekend, no, this was an extravagant, artistic, joyous occasion: the 2023 NorthBeast Regional Slam! Saturday began with excitement, coffee runs, and rehearsing as poets from slam teams all over the Northeast filed in to the Cambridge Foundry. We had two preliminary bouts, containing the following 8 teams:
- Boston Poetry Slam (Cambridge, MA)
- Lizard Lounge (Cambridge, MA)
- Last Chance Team (Cambridge, MA)
- ProvSlam (Providence, RI)
- Slam Free or Die (Manchester, NH)
- Mill City Speaks (Lowell, MA)
- We Were Here (our pick-up team!)
- PV What’s Next (Albany, NY)
There were sacrifices, there was banter, there were tears, there was one (1) group piece, and there were POEMS! Two teams from each bout advanced to the finals. The second day was filled with workshops and open mics to get everyone in an inspired, poetry-fied mood for the slam finals that evening. We had poets writing about the time between breaths, poets pacing in rooms rehearsing their work for finals, poets exchanging chapbooks, poets spitting bars at the queer open mic, and even poets eating pizza.
Then, the slam finals. Over 120 people watched the four finalist teams compete:
- Boston Poetry Slam
- Lizard Lounge
- Slam Free or Die
After some superb warm-up poets, amazing hosting by Anthony Febo, and 4 rounds of poems, we crowned a winner. The winner of the 2023 NorthBeast Regional Slam is….PROVSLAM! Congrats to the team: Shomari Woods, Ren L[i]u, Seth Larbi, Ilyus Evander, and Kenny Bradley!
We also awarded our superlatives from the preliminary bouts:
Funniest Poem: Art Collins of Lizard Lounge
Pushing the Art Forward: Jade Kleiner, Kat Anderson, and Kaitie Dilan
Best Performance: Mckendy Fils-Aime, Ren L[i]u and EL Evelyn
Wronged By The Judges: Sara H and Nayeli Mzin
That’s not all! Our wonderful regular Eddy Martinez took photos throughout the event that capture just how exciting and joyous the slam was. View them here. And now, a series of quotes I collected that capture the vibes of the weekend:
On competing: “it was the most joyous endurance test I’ve ever had to do”
On attending a workshop: “It was amazing. I feel like that not only did I reflect, but I needed to”
On how a poet felt before slamming: “Ready.”
On making it to the finals: “I’ve never gone to a regional slam, I was in my head. Afterwards, I was really happy because I feel like that was the best time I’d ever done that poem. I did the poem in the way I always wanted to do it.”
On judging: “There was a theme of struggling against the absurdity of the system.”
On slamming: “It was really cool to see how seriously everyone took it. Everyone was very prepared and did their best stuff. It was a great environment.”
On being an audience member: “It was cool to hear so many different voices in their unique creative ways. They built off of each other really well. The environment was fresh and inspiring.”
We want to extend the biggest thank you possible there is to our volunteers, slam hosts, judges, sacrificial poets, workshop hosts, those of us who ran to get Dunkin in the rain, bout managers, photographers, coaches, the talented poets themselves, and, of course, Myles Taylor and Alex Aimee Kist for organizing the crap out of this thing. This weekend could not have been possible without each and every one of you. Thank you!
– Amy ✈️
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