Local Event: Black Pearl Poetry

Back in December, after spending an evening at the monthly downtown Phoenix street fair known as First Fridays, I wandered into Fair Trade Cafe near the LightRail station at Roosevelt and Central in search of a hot beverage. What I found (in addition to coffee) was a slam poetry show. As an English major, my definition of poetry has been shaped by classes spent examining poets with diverse styles, but I had never encountered spoken word poetry except in a disclaimer from a creative writing professor that we would be discussing written word poetry and not spoken, because slam poetry is “a whole different ball game.”

Watching spoken word, I did find it to be an entirely new experience that challenged my conception of poetry, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. I was drawn in by the blending of sets of words that fit into my definition of poetry and the stylized vocal delivery that turns slam poetry into a performing art and a category of its own. If you’re interested in trying a new way of experiencing poetry, you should check it out:

Ed Mabrey, the 2007-2008 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion, is the founder of Black Pearl Poetry, which runs two shows in Phoenix per week:

Black Pearl Poetry Tempe Thursday: Every Thursday 8-10:15 p.m., $5.00 admission, MADCAP Theaters (the former Harkins theaters) at 730 S. Mill Ave in Tempe.

Black Pearl Poetry Phoenix Friday: Every Friday (except 3rd Friday) 7:45-10 p.m., $5.00 admission, Fair Trade Cafe at 1020 N. 1st Ave. in downtown Phoenix. *Every 3rd Friday instead of the evening show, there’s a poetry workshop in the same venue from 5:30-7 p.m.

This week’s lineup:

April 1 (Tempe): The National Poetry Slam Finals for Team Selection, an open mic, special guest performers, a farewell to the ASU SunDevilSlam Team, and featured performer Taalam Acey.

April 2 (downtown Phoenix): The Youth National Poetry Slam Finals for Team Selection, an open mic, special guest performers, and featured performer Taalam Acey.

These shows are both once a year events and two of the biggest shows that Black Pearl will host all year, which makes them perfect opportunities to get a feel for what slam poetry is all about. Don’t forget to say hi if you see me there!

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Superstition Review

Superstition Review is the online literary magazine produced by creative writing and web design students at Arizona State University. The mission of our journal is to promote contemporary art and literature by providing a free, easy-to-navigate, high quality online publication that features work by established and emerging artists and authors from all over the world. We publish two issues a year with art, fiction, interviews, nonfiction and poetry.
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