From Fringe 2018


Winnipeg Poetry Slam—Red River College – Roblin Centre

I attended the Slam last year, the first for The Fringe, and had a blast. That put this year’s slam as a target right in the center of my radar. For those who don’t know, a “Slam” is a “performance poetry competition using elimination by audience judges.” Each poet recites two poems and five judges hold up scores after each performance.

During last year’s Slam, I attended one of the first performances, which featured poets in the opening round. This year, I chose to attend a later performance of Slam 2, meaning that most of the poets have been eliminated and we dig into the semi-finals. That should put the best-of-the-best onto the stage—and they don’t disappoint.

For both of my attendances, I got to be a judge, which adds to the experience. If you want to be a judge, be sure to arrive early and find the host. So long as you have an appreciation for poetry and you’re not biased to any competitor, you are eligible. As a judge, I juggled criteria in my mind:

  • How good is the delivery? Is there emotion? Does the recital run smoothly?
  • How good is the poem? Is it too much like prose? Does the topic have relevance?

Judging is not cut out for everyone but if you want to take it on, it’s a lot of fun. If you don’t want to judge, that’s fine too—just come and enjoy the show. These people are very talented and a pleasure to watch.

During halftime, they invite you to write and recite your own poem (voluntary of course). This year’s theme is limerick.

To enjoy these poems, you need not attune—
C’mon down, in the eve or afternoon!
Watch the poet and the ham
Battle it out in the Slam!
I had a great time! Reviewed by Ray Yuen.

Ray Yuen

From Fringe 2018

Winnipeg Poetry Slam

SLAM! 2—Red River College – Roblin Centre

8 of Winnipeg’s best spoken word poets hit the stage for an audience-fueled competition! And this ain’t yer grandma’s poetry, folks. Slam is an underground movement that is rising up to engage audiences with socially relevant material and energy to inspire. Audience members get to participate as judges, and have the chance to write and share poetry of their own! Who will be crowned SLAM! 2 champ and win the cash prize?