The Boston Poetry Slam collaborated with the fourth annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival on April 21, 2012, with a Youth Poetry Slam and All-Star Poetry Slam hosted by Boston Poetry SlamMaster Simone Beaubien.
Six students turned out to compete in the Youth Slam at the Old Town Hall, with plenty of classmates and festival-goers in the house to cheer them on. Noemi performed a fabulous warm-up poem defining herself as a poet to break some hearts early in the audience, and the slam was off and running! A group of students all the way from the Harbor Pilot Middle School in Boston helped the crowd get pumped up for their representatives: Aliaska, whose rocked the house with her poignant description of being on the tough end of perception, and Cameron, who gave audience members of all ages a chuckle with a story about his “girlfriendenemy.” Two more students from Salem High gained a local following, too: Evan with his self-identifying hip-hop lyricism and Ellie with her descriptive and ethereal style.
The top scorers of the day were the poets from the Worcester Youth Slam… Three were already on hand to showcase their victory at the Louder Than a Bomb showcase that night. Between rounds, Worcester student Simone brought us a taste of some her very newest work, while Taylor went on to take the runner-up spot in the slam with her powerful performance style. It was their teammate Anna, however, who took top honors in the slam with her endearing and commanding poem in the voice of Tinkerbell. Congratulations to all our young competitors for rocking the mic!
Later that evening, the action continued out on the wharf at Victoria Station, where eight all-star Boston slammers gathered to see who would garner top honors in the Festival’s first invitational poetry slam event! Some of the heavy hitters included National Finalist Omoizele Okoawo, renowned playwright and performer April Ranger, hip-hop artist and freestyler Marlon Carey, and Emerson College SlamMaster Maya Phillips. All four of these poets poured their hearts and souls out in front of the bar, but were eliminated from competition after two poems each.
Four crowd favorites achieved the final round: New Hampshire narrator Brandi MacDonald and California slam champ Christian Drake both brought strong work, only to be defeated by famed Boston Poetry Slam bartender Adam Stone, who secured the runner-up spot with his quirky and daring narratives. Ultimately, the top poet of the night was Lizard Lounge slam champ (and veteran educator) Cole Rodriguez, whose charisma and hip-hop flow wowed the audience and judges alike!
Thanks again to Mass Poetry, who invited the slam to the festival and with whom we hope to share our work with again in the near future. See you next year for National Poetry Month!