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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Poetry Slam at the San Diego Art Institute

Michael Klam and Hank Gross

Wednesday night I decide to go to the
Poetry Slam.
The Poetry Slam is a competitive event in which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience. Typically, the host or another organizer selects the judges, who are instructed to give numerical scores (on a zero to 10 or one to 10 scale) based on the poets' content and performance.”

I know some artists of the SDAI will be there, my show is on, I may meet someone interesting. I talk to Michael Klam, the organizer, it’s been a while since I have seen him. He is, as always, extremely nice. I am surprised to see Zuri Waters there. We talk for a while, I show him my exhibition. We do not have much time before the Slam starts but he takes the time and watches carefully. I tell him how much I enjoyed the Art Tapout at Agitprop and that I took some videos. He asks me if I put them on YouTube. I say I do not think they are very good, but he tells me to do it anyway because there are not many of them posted and that could be interesting.

Then I understand that he is here to play his saxophone, to introduce the night – and to play between the performances. It’s really beautiful, free, intense. I drink a glass of wine and talk with some artists friends: Anna Zappoli Jenkins, Dan Adams and Hank Gross. They all participate in the poetry slam. There is, I believe, 18 people/performances in total. I should have participated! I did not think about it! But it is nice to be here anyway.

Michael is looking for judges in the public and after a while I decide to be one! I have to be really concentrated though: I am French and I am judging live American poetry! I melt when Dan says a poem about Anna, or when Anna reads a page of her diary written in Italian. I am trying to be impartial but it is difficult!

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