Worcester to Host Annual NorthBEAST Regional Poetry Slam
Eight poetry teams to compete for berths at the 2012 National Poetry Slam
WORCESTER, Mass., November 1, 2011 — On Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13, the Worcester Poets’ Asylum will welcome poetry slam teams from New England and beyond to the annual NorthBEAST Regional Poetry Slam. Eight teams of poets will compete to earn spots at the 2012 National Poetry Slam, as well as to crown a NorthBEAST regional individual champion for 2011. Both shows will take place at the WCUW Radio Station at 910 Main Street in Worcester.
Worcester’s newly inaugurated SlamMasters, Sarah Sapienza and Liz Heath, will operate as hosts for the sixth annual NorthBEAST Regional Poetry Slam. “The Poets’ Asylum is more than excited to be hosting the NorthBEAST Regional slam this year,” remarked Heath. “Having the best poets in New England coming to our city to strut their poetical stuff is going to amazing!”
The NorthBEAST Regional began in 2006 as an individual competition in Providence, R.I. Since then, it’s traveled to Cambridge, Mass. and Manchester, N.H. before landing in Worcester for 2011. On the way, the event has evolved into a two-night event that incorporates both team competition and an individual regional championship.
On Saturday, November 12, at WCUW, eight teams will slam off in two Nationals-style “four-by-four” bouts, where four teams go four rounds to see who comes out on top! Doors open at 6:30, the first set will kick off at 7:00 and the second one at 9:00 sharp. The top team from each bout will be guaranteed entry to the 2012 National Poetry Slam in Charlotte, N.C. Cover charge is $5-$10, sliding scale, and proceeds will benefit the WCUW Radio Station.
The next night, Sunday, November 13, the Poets’ Asylum’s regular weekly show will feature an individual championship. The top poets from each competing NorthBEAST team will go three rounds to see who will be crowned the 2011 NorthBEAST Champion! Doors open at 6:30 with a short open mic to start the 7:00 show, and the cover charge is $5-$10, sliding scale.
This will be New England’s first big poetry show since the 76-team National Poetry Slam landed in Cambridge in August. After drawing record crowds to that week-long event, local community organizers hope to ride the wave of enthusiasm for slam with this fun and highly competitive regional competition.
About Poetry Slam
Poetry slam is conventionally defined as the art of competitive performance poetry. Invented in the 1980s by a Chicago construction worker named Marc Smith, slam is a fast-paced competition where poets have a limited amount of time to impress judges randomly selected from the audience. Performers use all the tricks of storytelling, songwriting, theatre, stand-up comedy, and cold hard poetry to wheedle points out of the judges from 0.0 (terrible) to 10.0 (perfect!). Slam is not a passive performance; in addition to the judges, other audience members are strongly encouraged to participate by cheering, whistling, or mildly heckling the hosts or judges.
About the NorthBEAST
“NorthBEAST” was a term originally coined by the Providence, Rhode Island Brave New Voices youth poetry slam team to describe and cheer on the fearsome writers and performers of the New England youth region. It has since come to stand for the entire New England community of performance poetry.
A variety of NorthBEAST events take place throughout the year, including dozens of regional slams among youth, collegiate, and Nationals-bound slam venues. The largest of these is the annual NorthBEAST Regional Poetry Slam, a fall event for slam teams intending to qualify for the following summer’s National Poetry Slam.