The Women of the World Poetry Slam is hitting Minneapolis this March. This Tuesday, local women poets will be coming together to battle for the qualifying spot, where the winner will be the hometown representative competing at the big event. So far, Cynthia French, Anna Bikovitz, Thressa Johnson and Kait Rokowski are already part of the line-up, but people can sign up on the day of the event as well.
According to Allison Broeren, slam master for SlamMN, the WOWps tournament will include 80 women from all over the world (even as far as New Zealand) competing to be named the 2013 Woman Poet. This is the fifth year of the WOWps competition. It's run by the same organization that does the national slam in both team and individual categories. The women's slam is the newest, and this will be the first time it takes place in Minneapolis.
SlamMN, the host city organization, put in a bid to for the tournament last year. "We had so much fun at [the 2010] nationals," Broeren says. "We thought we should give it a try."
Twin Cities poet Kait Rokowski at last year's WOWps finals
Broeren believes Minnesota was chosen because there's such a good following of slammers here. "We have some of the best spoken word in the country," she says.
The WOWps is a chance for women to share their own voice. In the past, there have been more male slam performers than female on the scene. Broeren says things like jobs and family have sometimes kept women away. The women's slam was a way to "raise voices of all women poets, and build community with each other," says Broeren.
As SlamMN's slam master, Broeren has done much of the groundwork on finding venues, sponsors, and more for the week of the tournament. The national organization, meanwhile, handles registration, and they work collaboratively on programming.
Broeren herself won't be competing, but she's looking forward to local women poets having a chance to get "out there" and stretch their boundaries, as well as listening to new voices from around the world.
IF YOU GO:
Women of the World Poetry Slam: Minneapolis Qualifier
7 p.m. Tuesday, January 29
Kieran's Irish Pub
601 First Ave. N., Minneapolis
The event includes women competing in one-, two-, three-, and four-minute poems. Five random audience members will act as judges for the event, and all funds raised will go toward the WOWps tournament in March.