JAVA MONKEY SLAM FINALS & MORE: It's after midnight and I'm just in from the scorching slam final at Java Monkey Speaks. Standing room only doesn't even begin to describe this crowd...standing on top of each other more like it. They were three deep on the sidewalk...one of the biggest crowds at Java Monkey ever. And the poets were on fire! After the third round, it went into sudden death with Tavares Stephens vs. Filmore. Filmore won! So, here's the Java Monkey Atlanta slam team headed to the nationals in Austin this summer:

Gypsee-Yo
Bryan Pattillo
Jon Goode
Celita
Filmore

Okay, so let me back up and start with Friday, which was yet another dismal turnout for Poetry at Portfolio Center. We had Chelsea Rathburn, winner of the 2005 Richard Wilbur Award and a great poet, and one of the most meager audiences yet. Beth Gylys, Michael Walls, Cherryl Floyd-Miller, Rupert Fike, Elaine Malone and Chelsea's husband, Brandon, were those in attendance. After the short reading, we all retired to Micks for dinner and to has over what can be done to get the word out about poetry events in this city. Sure, there are a number of different events happening on Friday, and it does fracture the audience, but we've got to find a way to work together to present a more unified front. I'm thinking of taking a summer hiatus on the reading series and coming back in the fall on a different night with new promotional ideas.

On Saturday morning I went to the board meeting of Georgia Writers Association to cast my vote for the organization to become part of Kennesaw State University. This is a very exciting transition and will offer more resources to writers of all stripes. Poet and teacher Ralph Tejeda Wilson has been hammering out the transfer and will be interim director until a new one is selected. Founder Geri Taran will finally get to retire and rest after 12 years as executive director and nearly one-woman band. I will remain on the board until they tell me to hit the road. Kennesaw has some exciting programs and is a supporter of poetry, so this is quite exciting. Last summer, I spoke and read for teachers at KSU's summer program and got a taste of what's going on at the school. More on this soon.

After the board meeting, I read with Jenny Sadre-Orafai to a group of about 10 people. Sigh. Of course, the weather that morning had been terrible. There were storms, tornadoes and traffic chaos, so I had a feeling the turnout would be low. Thankfully, more than half the folks there purchased a copy of Slow To Burn, so it wasn't a total wash out. I had deja vu during the reading, because my first event for Better To Travel also had a poor showing, but then got bigger and bigger at each event. The official launch at galerieMC on Saturday, May 13, is shaping up to be a very nice event, with wine and nibbles.

Also had dinner with poet Karen Head on Sunday before Java Monkey. She's shopping a manuscript and she had graciously let me read it to offer some suggestions. We're trying to cook up a reading together in the fall, so back to work I go. I cannot believe I'm leaving for Texas in one week.

Comments

M. Ru Pere said…
Hey, thanks for the results - I had to leave early because the start-up went on fucking endlessly w Kodac stretching every word waiting for Fillmore - finally I yelled from the patio "Forget him. He's too late. Let's go!" Which cause Miss Gypsey to give me a harsh look and call me "mean" - which caused much knee-slapping from my table-mates -"ohhh, you in trouble!" . . . but wtf there were 11 poets "on-edge" waiting, plus the packed house - I mean i don't care if you're taking Marta or a burro - get to the slam finals on time! That said I'm really glad Fillmore is on the team - he's completely loveable and talented - a mix of Smokey Rob. L Hughes and Pigeon John
Collin said…
I'm glad Filmore made it as well. It was a tight competition with Tavares, but I think Filmore deserved the win last night. I was disappointed that Lady didn't make it. She was hot, hot, hot last night.
nolapoet said…
Lady should go. Period. And I wurn't dere!

R.

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