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Invite: The Chicago Grand Slam

This is an experiment.

This year, for the first time ever, Catcher in the Rhyme (the University of Chicago's Spoken Word student group) and the Reva and David Logan Center For the Arts are pleased to announce the first annual Chicago Grand Slam (CGS): A day-long poetry festival to be held on Sunday April 13, 2014, at the Logan Center on the University of Chicago campus.

The premise is simple: Chicago is the birthplace of Slam Poetry - but what started in the '80s at the Get Me High Lounge has since become a worldwide phenomenon open to poets of all ages; ot's become a vehicle for young people to express things they couldn't express in a classroom, in a conversation, or even in a written poem.

To that end, wonderful spoken word events like Brave New Voices, CUPSI, and Chicago's own Louder Than a Bomb have catered to young, high school and college-aged poets

But here, in the birthplace of Slam, there are still very few opportunities for poets of all ages to perform together on equal ground - not as mentors and mentees, but fellow students of our own voices. Fellow poets.

To that end, CGS will be a citywide individual poetry slam open to performers of all ages, the goal being to bring together high school, college and adult poets for a day-long poetry festival where we can write, teach, learn, and explore together.

There will be cash prizes for the top three finalists, and various workshops and other performance events throughout the day for anyone with a festival, poet, or staff pass.

Registration will cost $30 per person (making it less expensive to enter than any other major slam), and Festival Passes will be $10 for adults and $5 for high school or college students. Festival volunteers will receive a free Staff Pass that guarantees their entry into all the day's events.

Regardless of our age, our class, the number of books we've published, or the number of slams we've won, the poets of Chicago are all of the same lot. We live in a city of grand contradictions: A city known for great violence and great art, lavish corruption and grind-mode work, abject resignation, and endless wonder. Our poetry teaches us how to exist in this space. It teaches us how to speak up, and how to do it well. It comforts us, saddens us, moves us, and redeems us. It teaches us to find our voices, and then it teaches us how to use them.

This is an experiment. You are hereby cordially invited to the Chicago Grand Slam.

Watch this page for registration information.


Comments welcome.


Posted on February 7, 2014

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