National Poetry Slam News

nps logoIt”s up and running! The official web site for the 2006 National Poetry Slam is up, and it”s a doozy. This year, they”re pulling out all the stops to make sure that those of us who are watching from home get to be part of the fun and excitement. There are blogs available for members, community message boards, an events calendar to chart the progress of your favorite hometown slammers to the nationals, photo albums – it”s a true working community site where you can volunteer to work a venue, check the lists of venues, find a hotel or place to crib with other poets on the message boards and jam with other slam poets from around the country.

This year”s Nationals will be held in Austin, TX, August 9-12. The organizers expect over 300 poets from 80 teams across the US and from Europe to converge on Austin and turn the city into a 4 day poetry festival. The NPS is more than a competition, though – it”s a convention of poets that is one of the most energizing experiences imaginable. It is the opportunity to eat, sleep, drink and dream poetry with hundreds of others who are eating, sleeping, drinking and dreaming poetry. It is the chance to connect with poets you”ve read, and to reconnect with those you know. It has the air of a gigantic family reunion complete with regional rivalries (San Francisco vs. Chicago, Boston vs. Worcester, Providence vs. Boston) and hometown heroes coming home once again to their roots. It”s a must-come, must-see, must-be experience for anyone who loves performance poetry – and for those who want to understand what Slam is really all about – community.

Because despite all the competition and rivalry, Slam is about making poetry into community. From the very start, it was about making connections outside the notebook and in the world, and it continues to do that as the Slam community grows and grows. It is about the poetry, and for all the fierce drama that can accompany a Slam bout, in the end it all comes down to the poetry. That”s evident at any Slam venue, but never so much as it is at the Nationals where you”ll find poetry and connections happening everywhere you look. It”s not confined to the scheduled events. For four days in August, poetry will be in the parking lots at 3 a.m., at the coffee shop over a morning muffin and in the hotel lobbies and around the swimming pools. PSi has done a wonderful job of setting up an online forum that can bring that excitement and energy to all of us through blogs and forum postings. If you”ll be at the Nationals, pop on over to NPS and grab a blog, join the forums and share the fun. We”ll be watching!

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