A Weekly Newsletter for the
William Carlos Williams wrote "Its hard to find the news in poetry." Not anymore!
Vol I, No 8. August 3, 1998
New Look For
Since it began in 1990, the National Poetry Slam has evolved and changed through each year of its existence. This years 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 nations 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
Devlins 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."
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) , Beaus future looks so bright, hes 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 Im a player. Girls like me and fall in love with me and stuff. I have no idea why. JW: What are the Mouth Almighty teams prospects for the slam? Were gonna win. Either me or Evert Eden will be the individual champions. You better not write that its a prediction. Its really gonna happen.
JW: How has growing up in Oklahoma affected you?
BS: It was a necessary experience to be a good writer. Its 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 Beaus 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 OHara, 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: Im the only Chinese guy. Aint 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 theyre good cooks.
JW: Youve 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: Ill get the Nobel Prize in 5 years.
JW: In 50 years?
BS: In 50, Ill probably already be retired, but I guess you can never retire from writing.
JW: How about in between?
BS: I guess Ill learn how to surf.
On July 28th at Manhattans 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 teams closest
80 Poetry Radio programs and Growing!
Write us with news and information at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Top 20 Spoken
Word Tracks for
1. Laurie Anderson
2. William S. Burroughs
3. Leonard Cohen
4. John Tchicai and
5. Miranda July
6. Kronos Quartet
7. Johnny Depp
8. Maya Angelou
9. Matt Cook
10. Maggie Estep
11. Frank Messina
"Fences and Teeth"
12. Edwin Torres
13. Eds Redeeming
15. Steven Jesse
16. Richard Brautigan
17. William S.
18. Sekou Sundiata
19. Jack Kerouac
20. Martha Cinader
© 1998 Mouth Almighty Records
Photograph by Lina Palotta