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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Team Tucson fundraises for Poetry Slam

    Tucsons poetry slam team - Teresa Dawn Driver, left, Lindsay Miller, middle, and Wildcat news editor Kelly Lewis - will be holding a July 21 fundraiser at Club Congress for its trip to the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas.
    Tucson’s poetry slam team – Teresa Dawn Driver, left, Lindsay Miller, middle, and Wildcat news editor Kelly Lewis – will be holding a July 21 fundraiser at Club Congress for its trip to the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas.

    Poetry comes to life this weekend as Tucson’s National Poetry Slam team prepares for its first national competition with a fundraiser at Club Congress.

    The team, formed partially by creative writing junior Lindsay Miller, will participate in the annual event in Austin, Texas in August. It is the first Tucson team ever to participate.

    “”The National Poetry Slam has been around since the ’80s, or at least the modern version of it,”” Miller said. “”It is audience-judged poetry – very interactive. It can be like a sporting event at times with the audience cheering you on.””

    Miller formed the team in 2006 after moving to Tucson from Denver to attend school.

    “”I started attending slams in high school because Denver is one of the biggest (cities) for slams,”” she said. “”I moved out to Tucson, and there wasn’t one here. Once we started, it took off really quickly because there were already so many poetry meetings and events in town. We now meet the last Saturday of every month and are pushing to get a twice-a-month schedule.””

    Miller, who has attended two previous National Poetry Slams as a spectator, is excited to make her debut with her team this year. Her teammates include journalism senior and Arizona Summer Wildcat news editor Kelly Lewis, and Teresa Driver.

    “”It is a cool environment,”” Miller said. “”The slam scene is small, everyone knows everyone. It’s like your family reunion, but it feels like the Olympics too.””

    The competition will begin with 75 teams, most from around the United States as well as two teams from Canada and one from Paris. Each team performs in two preliminary rounds. From there, the top 25 teams are chosen to perform in the semifinal round and from those 25 teams, five are chosen to compete for the top spot.

    “”You have to perform original work,”” Miller said. “”The difference with the national competition is that we can present group work as well so there is more to feed off of. We have spent all summer collaborating, scripting and choreographing to make our performance more appealing to the audience.””

    After the participants perform their pieces, audience members are selected randomly to score each performance.

    “”It is kind of arbitrary,”” Miller said. “”You never know what the judges are going to be looking for because it is completely different every time.””

    The fundraiser, which is set up to cover the team’s traveling expenses, will be hosted at Club Congress and will bring in some of Tucson’s and the nation’s best talent, including the headliner Verbobala Spoken Video featuring poet Logan Phillips and pyrotheatrical performance troupe Flam Chen.

    “”We’ve got a lineup of awesome talent,”” Miller said. “”Logan Phillips of Verbobala is extremely talented and, with the collaboration of Flam Chen, this will be their largest show to date.””

    Other performers include poet Jewel Blackfeather, musicians Crossing Sarnoff and One Eye Open and host Aaron Johnson, a Flagstaff poet.

    The fundraiser will be held Saturday at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St., and is open to all ages. Doors open at 6 p.m., with performances beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time for $9 or at the door for $10.

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