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Gentle Poetry Slam II set for First Night

July 1, 1993

Gentle Poetry Slam II set for First Night

By Susan Johnson

By Susan Johnson

Copy Editor

The Second Annual First Night Gentle Poetry Slam will be held from 8:30 to 10 p.m., Sunday, December 31, at Mystic Cafe, Stewart Square. Everyone is invited!

David Ross, slam master, explained the rules. Poets will compete in three categories: Youth, Adult and (new this year) Audience Improv. Participants are asked to bring three original poems (up to 50 lines each–except improv). Prizes will be awarded to winners in each category.

“In all three categories,” stated Ross, “we will have $25 cash for first prize.” Second prize will be $15 gift certificates from local book stores, and third prize will be First Night souvenirs on sale that night–flashlights, T-shirts, caps, etc.

Ross was gratified at the reception the poetry slam had last year. Since it went over so well last year, “they asked me to come back this year,” said Ross.

What is his own writing background? “I am the creative writing teacher at Boylan and Rock Valley College,” Ross explained. “I do poetry and drama and story ‘funshops’ (as opposed to workshops). I just retired a few months ago as editor of the Rockford Review [publication of the Rockford Writers Guild] for 10 years.”

Ross was pleased to add something new to the Slam. “The Audience Improvs is a new category this year,” he said. “After the youth and adult rounds, I’ll open it up to everybody who’s there and wants to try this. I’m hoping that people who see what a slam is like will give it a try. It will be an open invitation for everyone in the audience to give it a try. I will give them the idea–the seed of an idea, give them some time to either compose in their head or compose on paper. I will have paper and pencils out on the cafe tables. Give them a chance to compose and perform based on the idea that I gave them. It’s not one that you can prepare for; it’s going to be thinking on your feet and then performing spontaneously.”

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