SlamMN – ed

Kieren’s Irish Pub is expensive and echoes “like a motherfucker.” Our hostess warned us that if we happened to whisper to a neighbor that we thought the person on stage was really hot, he/she could probably hear us. It’s a strange room to have a poetry slam. Giant and vaguely colonial, with a lot of ornamentation on the white painted woodwork. And it’s expensive. Sooner or later, I’ll have to ask someone why they would choose to have a bunch of poor poets meet weekly at a bar in a downtown Minneapolis.

This was my second slam. I was there with friends to support the great Paul Nemeth. Since it was finals selection, all the poets were fantastic, and so I’m going to use that as an excuse not to critique. Though, the highlight of the evening was one Neal shouting out, “They call it bipolar disorder -I all it a superpower!”

Did you know that Harold Bloom called slam poetry “the death of art”? So says Wikipedia. If it’s true (that he said it, and that slam poetry really is art’s death) then what a glorious way to go out.

The death of art is why I moved to the Twin Cities. Or at least part of it. After spending ten months in New Orleans, I was ready for cold weather again, and it was revenge, I’m sure, that I got such a nasty winter. Now it’s 90 degrees outside, demonstrating what a native Minnesota said about the weather: it’s passionate.

But poetry and art and death. I wanted to live in a place where I could find a reading or a play every night and I wouldn’t have to sell parts of my body to pay rent, like in New York. Like most Iowans, I decided that the Twin Cities seemed like a good option. It’s not overwhelming, but large enough to be interesting. And I’ve been spending too much time ignoring it.

I have lived in the Twin Cities for almost a year and I have not yet gotten to know this place. There is so much here to offer. Thanks to Paul, I now know that if I’m ever board on a Tuesday I can get a literary fix at Kieren’s. There’s more, I know. But this is a good start.

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