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Slam Poets in Bemidji


"I think that when I'm writing slam poetry I tend to write a little bit differently. I think it's a little bit more forgiving of a format in that you know you can use more conjunctions and... slang... You don't have to be so careful...Sometimes a poem will come out as a just ...what it is and then I'll turn it into a slam poem... by reading it out loud and finding those rhythms and things that make it sound well. - Jessica Santala, slam poet

The Red Stu in downtown Bemidji hosted the 2nd slam poetry competition for the season July 10th.  We spoke with a couple of slam poets about what happens at a slam event and what they appreciate about slam poetry.  

"I wake up in a cold sweat from a particularly bad dream

and as thunder claps in the distance, I'm not sure if my nightmare has ended or just begun.

My eyes can't focus on what's in front of me,

But I know it's not supposed to be here in my room watching me as I sleep

Now that I'm awake, I scramble to grab my phone from beside my shaking body.

My heart thuds in my ears as I shine the light on my phone screen into the darkness in front of me, searching for what lies beyond. 

But alas I was worried for nothing.

Because all that was in front of me was my beloved, orange tabby cat meowing for attention

and seeking protection from the impending storm.

Cam Eberline

Oh Bemidji.

Where did you go wrong?

Hopes of a big town that keeps its feet in the frontier.

The dream of manifest destiny.

Is this right.

Unlikely communion of the arts and the hypocrisy of suburban money running through greedy local hands.

Are you satisfied with your cutting edge hockey arena? 

Brand new venue for the display of money while slowly shelters and helpers are pushed out.

How many kids will sleep on your cracked cement, your dirt covered alleys tonight? 

How many families have used up their visits to the food shelf this year and go hungry, hungry, hungry?

Mad, mad with the unattainable dreams of America.

Jessica Santala