June Poetry Slam Is Coming & April Lynn James Wants To Talk About It!

Poetry Slam Saturday, June 7, 2014 @ 7 pm

PoetrySlam-artworkI came to Philadelphia in search of Communi-Tea. My immediate family had become toxic, and after taking a friend up on an offer of sanctuary and sharing her studio apartment in NYC’s East Village for the first half of 2013, I needed to find a home somewhere. I had to begin again. After traveling the northeast (Boston, Maine) and across the pond (France, the Netherlands, Germany), I moved to Chestnut Hill. Here in northwest Philadelphia, amid trees and stone, I hoped to heal my heart and find other artists.


Cohosts: April Lynn James (R) and Mary Ann Domanska (L)

I had heard that Philly was a town supportive of the arts and artists.  At a street fair in Mt. Airy in September 2013, I learned of the Mt. Airy Art Garage, and met Arleen, one of its founders. I became a dues-paying member the following month, and met Linda, MAAG’s President. I loved Linda and Arleen’s vision of creating a space for all the arts—visual, literary and performative. I attended events sporadically over the fall and winter, and got involved in planning the second annual International Women’s Day event. In March 2014, I had the opportunity to co-host that event and to perform some of my (and my alter ego’s) poetry. It was during the IWD event that I met Mary Ann, who was leading MAAG’s Writer’s Group. I was exhorted to attend the Slam, so I did. The vibe was so friendly that inaugural night: people brought their picnic baskets, filled with wine, cheese and other edibles and sat themselves around the candlelit tables. One entrant brought her entire family who cheered her on. The audience and participants were a mixture of young and old, black and white, gay and straight, and all things in-between. We had 60 plus people at that first Slam, exceeding our expectations, and challenging our supply of chairs. 

DSC_9020WEBREADYThe biggest surprise for me that night was that I won the slam! I had come simply to support a fledgling event and to share my work, yet here I was walking away with the top prize!  How about that? A Sonneteer wins in Mt. Airy! This would never have happened in gritty, cut-throaty New York City! Now, I co-host the Poetry Slam. Our audience for the second slam was also a vibrant and vocal mix of folk from Germantown, Mt. Airy, Chestnut Hill and other parts of the city. Yes, some folks even came up from Center City! What, you say? People traveling into the Northwest for poetry? Yes, Virginia—yet again, something that would never happen in NYC.

I want to see this Poetry Slam become THE place to be the first Saturday evening of every month. 

This month our featured poet will be Kasey Jueds, author of The Keeper. Her poems have appeared in publications including Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, Manhattan Review, Salamander, Crab Orchard Review, Women’s Review of Books, and 5AM. She’s been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Soapstone, and the Ucross Foundation. Keeper, my first book, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press. So, we expect an exciting evening!

DSC_9036WEBREADYThe slam starts at 7 pm and goes until 9pm. You can sign up at the door, or send an email to poetryslam.maag@gmail.com. Download the list of Slam Rules HERE. The poets are limited to five, count ‘em 5 entrants. At only $5, the MAAG Poetry Slam’s a deal that can’t be beat. And for those competition-shy amongst us, there is an Open Mic directly following the Slam at 9 pm. Come one, come all and spread the word!



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