Last Wednesday, we had one of the most exciting rising slammers in the country scheduled to visit us for a full feature; we’d waited for months to see Tonya Ingram hit our stage just in time for the holiday weekend. Unfortunately, Tonya’s bus had a different idea about scheduling… What to do? Well, how about following a rockin’ open mic with our nightly open slam! Eight poets who had counted on having until 11 p.m. to prepare got thrown into the mix an hour early, and each rose to the occasion in their own way. The final round came down to rookie Austin Hendricks vs. our upcoming July 9 feature Nathan Comstock; Nathan brought a fun preview of our upcoming Star Wars vs. Star Trek slam (to be scheduled in the fall) and a few already-hits, but Austin’s new work’s momentum took the high score from the first spot, giving Austin her first Cantab slam win. Congrats to Austin, and also to our many first-time slam watchers who hung out to watch the early fun.
We’d barely dropped the $10 prize on our slam winner when Tonya Ingram did finally make it all the way down to our dank little cellar. A rapt crowd cozied up to the first three rows (okay, plus a handful at the bar) for an intimate late-night feature. Tonya treated us to a wonderful selection of tried and true slam work, short pieces from her book Growl & Snare, and some exciting unpublished poems straight from her notebook. Thanks so much to everyone who stayed; if you missed it, please consider visiting Tonya at Slam Free or Die next Thursday, May 29.
Next week: we’re back with the World Qualifier Finals! The top eight poets from the May 7 slam will slam off in four rounds (whoa!), including a long-form round, to see who will represent the venue at the Individual World Poetry Slam in Phoenix this October. That means you’ll see Sean Patrick Mulroy, Meaghan Ford, Janae Johnson, Bobby Crawford, Princess Chan, Mckendy Fils-Aimé, Zeke Russell, and Allison Truj in a fight to select one ultimate winner. This slam costs $5 because it’s just that awesome, and also because it’s not cheap to ship a poet to Phoenix. See you there!