Capital Slam 2011 Summer Edition

Open Mic 1

Open Mic 2

Open Mic 2

I’m back. And so is the Capital Slam for the summer (actually it was already back, but I just attended my first of the summer). First, a personal digression or two. I’ve found a Canadian rose (or at least a Prairie Lily, she is from Saskatchewan) that I am now engaged to. We moved into together in a new place, and I need to take a moment to give Ottawa a big shout out. In the hot enough weather a couple of months ago, with the help of three of her friends, we valiantly were unloading the full van of 1 and 3/4 of apartments, when someone saw us and stopped to give us a hand.  He turned out to be slightly liquored up, but he did pitch in somewhat, before moving on. While he was first helping though, another person showed up and asked if we needed a hand. He never came back, but he sent three more people over who totally save us from heat exhaustion. Go random acts of kindness.

 

 

Mia Morgan

Mia Morgan

Chris Tse

Chris Tse

But enough about me, let’s talk poetry. Ruthanne was the host and Rusty Priskewas the DJ. She was also the sacrificial poet starting the night off with an ode to Violet Desmond. Then two open mic poets started us off with some good poetry.  Then the slam was on in earnest (apologies to anyone’s name that I get wrong). Also, as usual, most poems don’t have a name (excepting some of the feature poet’s) so names are purely from my imagination.  Decker started off with Famine a poem about the famine in Somalia and the human factors that make famine. Mia Morgan gave us Fear, a meditation on the necessary fear of opening up and sharing a poem. Chris Tse gave us Self-titled, a poem about his own growth as a poet. Vanessa Baker (one of my favorites who always seems to get shafted by the judges) shared Daughter (not) Just Like Me and all the qualities she hopes her daughter will have (in contrast to her own mothers exasperated I hope you have a daughter just like you). Rusty Priske performed Looking For Truth vs. News, a political poem in response to Fox/Sun and the allowing-news-to-lie federal ruling. Serafina dropped To The Sucker Who Marries Me, actually a lovely love poem.

Vanessa Baker

Vanessa Baker

The feature poet was Mary Pinkoski, from Edmonton, although she had Ottawa connections having gone to Carleton. I loved her! I’m so glad she was able to find a Porter flight after her cross country train trip threatened to leave her stranded in Toronto, missing the slam.  All of her poems had a wonderful simplicity to them that felt like she was just talking to you, or telling you a story, but stealthily had wonderful cadence and word choice in a way that you didn’t notice overtly, just in the general sense of good quality. The poem that came out of tutoring in a community center brought tears to my eyes. They were all good poems, but I’ll call out one line in particular that I liked: when we grow old, our love will grow obvious.

Rusty Priske

Rusty Priske

The second half was not in reverse order, but random again. Mia Morgan restarted us with Transit Days, a tale of joyous youth.  Decker had the Don’t Have A Job and Don’t Fit in Blues. Rusty performed Tricks a riff on hard-knock lives. Serafina blew me away with Love You Like Fast Food, a tale of bad habit lovers. Chris Tse performed his (classic to me) McDonalds Girl, a story of crushes in McDs and food metaphors. Vanessa Baker recounted Sex as an Inevitably or No as Yes (which she performed at the semi-final last year) a poem of the negotiation between the sexes for love/sex.

Serafina

Serafina

The summer slams are once a month, and the next one is September 3rd. Also at the Mercury Lounge. If you need more poetry before then, the Capital Slam team has a show August 20th at the Mercury Lounge.

Mary Pinkoski

Mary Pinkoski

For those wondering, the judges gave rankings of: 1st Chris, 2nd Sarefina, 3rd Rusty. I really like the new-to-me talent of Mia as well. I agree with the judges about Sarefina, another new to me talent that deserves notice. Just like at the semi-finals, Vanessa Baker could get no love from the judges, but I think she is still putting some great stuff out there. (No disrespect to Chris Tse or Rusty, the establishment poets still doing great things.) For another take on the event, which includes some more announcements, go here.

 

P.S. (Apologies to Dekker, my picture of her didn’t come out at all.)

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