Poetry power fills Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave., Albany) on the first and third Tuesdays of each and every month in the form of the Nitty Gritty Poetry Slam. The Slam is a judged competition that consists of three rounds of “8-4-2” eliminations. At the end of the evening, one poet is crowned the Slam victor; second and third place poets are also recognized.
The general flow of these evenings begins with sign-up at 7:00PM, open mic starts at 7:30PM, and then the slam starts at 8:00PM. The cost of admission is $5 ($3 with a student I.D.).
Prof. Daniel Nester commented that the slam is “going along steadily,” with generals crowd ranging from about 25-40 people. Nester, who DJs at the slams, told us slammers range from teenagers in their senior year of high school, to undergrads including our own, to a couple graduate students, to people in the community.
“It’s a great mix of crowds because so many people and organizations have banded together to make sure Albany has a real slam venue, which it didn’t for 10-plus years.”
Prof. Nester also mentioned that the Slam is often stigmatized as just a competition, but this isn’t quite the right view. “People might knock slams because it’s a competition, but that’s not really the point of a slam,” Nester says. “The point is poetry and community and making sure people are involved in speaking up and expressing themselves, telling stories.”
Anyone and everyone that has a passion for poetry and performance is welcome to give the Slam a try, or even get their “toes wet” on stage, as Nester put it, at the open mic session beforehand!