Milly’s Tavern was the place to be profound on Friday night.
The back room was filled with poets and their followers, assembled for the 2014 N.U.T.S. (NorthBeast Underground Team Slam) team championship tournament.
Unlike its two-dimensional counterpart, a “slam” is poetry in motion, an interactive experience as much about performance as it is about the written word.
There are rules.
Each poet has just three minutes to work the crowd. A time-keeper will let the judges know if there is a penalty. Five random judges a chosen – they just can’t personally know the poets who are on deck to perform. Audience members are encouraged to “applaud the poet” or boo the judges.
Bias from the audience is always encouraged.
Ultimately, the poet receives an average of the five scores and is added to that team’s standings. On Friday night eight teams took turns going head-to-head by sending up their strongest poets, and the team with the most points wins.
Saturday night’s Individual Champion was Meaghan Ford.
You should probably go sometime, whether you are poetry savvy or just slam curious.
Be warned: Everything goes with slam poetry. It can frequent those darker, emotional places where life takes us. In getting there, the language goes there, too, from the profound to the profane.
That said, below are two of the featured poets from Friday night’s slam. Enjoy.