A Weekly Newsletter for the
Spoken Word Radio Community

William Carlos Williams wrote "It’s hard to find the news in poetry." Not anymore!

Vol I, No 8. August 3, 1998

New Look For
Austin Nationals
By Keystone

Since it began in 1990, the National Poetry Slam has evolved and changed through each year of its existence. This year’s slam, however, will prove to be the largest Poetry Slam event ever. Forty-five teams from around the country -- and several individuals from regions without enough poets to form a competitive team -- will compete in Austin, Texas (August 19-22) for several honors. In addition to the National Championship prize shared by a team, there is also an individual champion award.

This year, the national competition will undergo quite a few changes. In past years, evening bouts were the sole focus of the slam. This year, however, there are a whole slew of interesting daytime events as well. For each day of the Nationals, there are at least two "book parties," which will include readings and signings from many of the nation’s premiere poetry publishers. Included are the Manic D Press, Soft Skull Press, 2.13.61 Publications, Incommunicado Press and Mouth Almighty Records. Several daytime readings are also headlined, such as readings by Marc Smith (the inventor of the poetry slam), Jeff McDaniel, Patricia Smith, Ellyn Maybe, and Bob Holman. There will even be an event called Masterpiece Theater, where "slam Hall-of-Famers deliver the poems that made slam great."

Other daytime events include all Latino and all African-American readings, an all gay reading, a Teen Slam, a Prop Slam (props are prohibited in the other slams), a Round-Robin open-mic, a Rap Slam, and even a Spelling Bee. Of course, no National Poetry Slam would be complete without the annual East vs. West Softball Game. As it was described in Paul Devlin’s documentary SlamNation, the object of the game "is to be as clumsy as possible so people can laugh at you." Perhaps this clumsiness will be aided by "the rumored keg at 2nd base."

An Interview
With Beau Sia

By Janaya Williams

Beau Sia wears many hats. Slam poet. Writer. NYU film school graduate. Breakdancer. Allen Ginsberg protégé. Competitive swimmer. Mack daddy. Recently chosen to travel to Austin as one fourth of the 1998 Mouth Almighty/Manhattan national slam team, featured in the award winning film Slam!, and with his debut spoken word album set for release on September 1 entitled Attack! Attack! Go! (Mouth Almighty) , Beau’s future looks so bright, he’s gotta wear shades. Here he talks to POETRY NEWS about a bevy of subjects...

JW: You have a reputation as a mack daddy.

BS: Yeah, people tell me I’m a player. Girls like me and fall in love with me and stuff. I have no idea why. JW: What are the Mouth Almighty team’s prospects for the slam? We’re gonna win. Either me or Evert Eden will be the individual champions. You better not write that it’s a prediction. It’s really gonna happen.

JW: How has growing up in Oklahoma affected you?

BS: It was a necessary experience to be a good writer. It’s all about being lonely -- the reason I can write is because I spent a lot of time in my room just sitting around writing and watching HBO. (which incidentally, explains all the references to Punky Brewster, Doogie Howser, and Alyssa Milano in Beau’s poetry) At the time, I hated it. But I guess it was good.

JW: Who are your favorite poets?

BS: Besides myself? William Carlos Williams, Frank O’Hara, Saul Williams, Jeff McDaniel, Todd Colby, Sekou Sundiata, did I say Beau Sia?

JW: What makes your album different from other spoken word albums?

BS: I’m the only Chinese guy. Ain’t no one in America trying to give a Chinese guy a break. Did you see Lethal Weapon 4? All the powerful Chinese people are killers and murderers, the good guys are really weak and need help from Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, and their only redeeming quality is that they’re good cooks.

JW: You’ve been described as an Allen Ginsberg protégé.

BS: He was my protégé spiritually. I met him at the Kiev, I asked him some questions, we became friends and started hanging out. He taught me how to be a better person.

JW: Where will you be in 5 years?

BS: I’ll get the Nobel Prize in 5 years.

JW: In 50 years?

BS: In 50, I’ll probably already be retired, but I guess you can never retire from writing.

JW: How about in between?

BS: I guess I’ll learn how to surf.

Austin Or Bust! Mouth Almighty Poetry Slam Team Chosen
By Keystone

On July 28th at Manhattan’s Chelsea Feast Cafe, the final two spots of the Manhattan/ Mouth Almighty poetry slam team were decided. Joining Beau Sia and Kristin Aptowicz are their close friend and fellow NYU student Amanda Nazario, along with veteran Evert Eden. The team plans to drive from New York to Austin via mini-van for the four-day competition. The slam will be an opportunity for the team to launch an assortment of promotional escapades, including a book of team members’ poetry to be sold at the slam, and a series of three preliminary matches against the New York/ Nuyorican Poets Cafe team, the team’s closest geographic rival.

80 Poetry Radio programs and Growing!

  Write us with news and information at



photograph by Lina Pallotta

The Top 20 Spoken Word Tracks for
Week Ending
August 7, 1998

1. Laurie Anderson
"The End of The World"
The Ugly One With The Jewel
(Warner Brothers)

2. William S. Burroughs with Material
"The Western Lands (A Dangerous Road Mix)"
The Road To The Western Lands

3. Leonard Cohen "Democracy"
The United States of Poetry
(Mouth Almighty)

4. John Tchicai and Yusef Komunyakaa
"Notes From the Madhouse"
Notes From the Madhouse
(8th Harmonic Breakdown)

5. Miranda July
The Binet-Simon Test
(Kill Rock Stars)

6. Kronos Quartet
"Sing Sing J. Edgar Hoover"
Howl U.S.A.

7. Johnny Depp
"Madroad Driving"
Kerouac Kicks Joy Darkness

8. Maya Angelou
"My Guilt"
Black Pearls: The Poetry of Maya Angelou

9. Matt Cook
Grand Slam
(Mouth Almighty)

10. Maggie Estep
"Sex Goddess of the Western Hemisphere"
No More Mr. Nice Girl
(Mouth Almighty)

11. Frank Messina "Fences and Teeth"
Biting the Tongue

12. Edwin Torres
"A Wutherance of E"
Holy Kid
(Kill Rock Stars)

13. Ed’s Redeeming Qualities
"Spoken Word"
More Bad Times
(Flying Fish Records)

14. Timothy Leary
"Why Not? Why Not? Why Not?"
Beyond Life With Timothy Leary
(Mouth Almighty)

15. Steven Jesse Bernstein

16. Richard Brautigan
"The Pill vs. The Springfield Mine Disaster"
Listening To Richard Brautigan

17. William S. Burroughs
"Sexual Conditioning"
The Best of William S. Burroughs from Giorno Poetry Systems
(Mouth Almighty)

18. Sekou Sundiata
"Ear Training"
The Blue Oneness of Dreams
(Mouth Almighty)

19. Jack Kerouac
"Old Western Movies"
Blues and Haikus

20. Martha Cinader
"Po’azz Yo’azz "Po’azz Yo’azz"
Living It
(Liquid Sound Lounge)

Our Weekly Top 20 list was compiled from a national survey of spoken word radio DJs.


Radio Poetry
Participating Stations


© 1998 Mouth Almighty Records

Photograph by Lina Palotta