Hot diggity, ladies and gents. Had the BIGGEST surprise this week. They finally posted the Columbus Arts Fest schedule and I found out that I placed SECOND in the overall competition. That means a 40 minute set on June 2nd at the Word is Art Stage. I go on right after one of my poetry idols, the great Rose Smith, who placed third and gets a 35 minute feature; and right before the winner of the Arts Fest competition, Joanna Schroeder, who will have a 50 minute feature.
Before that, though, I still have my 15 minute feature on Friday the 18th, for the Writer’s Block all -nighter; and it looks like I will be part of a haiku deathmatch on Saturday, the 19th. Gotta school me some folks. 😉
It’s amazing, this past year in Columbus. I remember talking to a friend (friend, teacher, slammaster, poet extraordinaire), and telling him that I had three main goals for my first couple years or so in Columbus: 1. Continue to get published. 2. Make Arts Fest. 3. Make a National Slam Event within two years.
What can I say? Two out of three in the first year isn’t too shabby. I still have work to do Slam-wise.
As to Slamming…
I pretty much had a mini-breakdown after the Grand Slam for the National Team in mid-April. I came in last. Some outstanding poets (Vernell Bristow, Hanif Abdurraqib, Gina Blaurock and Rose Smith) made the team and will represent Writer’s Block very well in Charlotte this year. But I admit, fully, that I did not handle coming in last well.
I was tired. I was grumpy. I was fed up with coming in last or near last A LOT. And so I grumbled. I doubted myself. I wondered if poetry was my thing after all. I alienated people. I ended up weepy and whiny.
And I’m sorry for it.
I try to be the “noble” poet, doing it for the art, etc. You know, that old chestnut. But I admit, I’m human… and sometimes my humanity overwhelms my nobility. I really wanted to make that team. I wanted to make top 4, EARN my way to the team– NOT beat other people… I don’t think of it that way. I love these people too much to think that way. I just wanted to be a part of something big and remarkable. And it really stung to know I have to wait another year to try again. I have spent a lot of time waiting in my life… especially during my marriage. It just really sucked the life out of me for about a week after the slam, and I wasn’t a good human being. And I really didn’t love poetry for awhile. I tell you, I wish I could take it back.
But, I learned that I have to get better. I learned that Imma gonna have to work HARD–especially going up against these poets here in Columbus. I have to make my language rock hard and razor sharp. And I have to learn to enjoy it again. I have to write for me again. And I have to please myself with my words first and foremost. I won’t please anyone else if I don’t do that.
So, I am set to write this weekend. Formed poetry, free verse, it doesn’t matter. I just want to write. Create something new and (hopefully) eloquent. And I want to have fun. And I will.