When thinking of spoken word, storytelling, and poetry readings, you probably don't think of things like time allotment, scorecards, and judges. But that is part of the charm of the poetry slam. Whether or not it's human nature to want to turn everything into a sport, or to somehow qualify artistic value with a score, poetry slams give an urgency, a sharpening sense of the moment, that a casual reading will never have. This Monday will be the qualifying event for the Olympics of the spoken-word world when the Artists' Quarter hosts the Soap Boxing Poetry Grand Slam. Although most Soap Boxing gigs allow for open-mic spoken word, tonight's event is a closed performance, featuring eight of the top performers of the season. The four best performers, determined by five judges picked at random in the audience (you could potentially be one!), will form a national team that will represent St. Paul at the 2008 National Poetry Slam in Madison, Wisconsin, this August. As Soap Boxing states on its website: "The competition will be ugly; the poetry will be beautiful." 18+.
Mon., May 5, 7 p.m., 2008