2010 National Poetry Slam

Every year, hundreds of poets descend upon one city for the Olympics of competitive spoken word: National Poetry Slam. This year NPS has chosen St. Paul, home of last year's national champions, Soapboxing Poetry Slam, to host. All week venues across downtown will be packed with cheering fans. For the uninitiated, here's how a poetry slam works: Poets have three minutes to perform, sans props or music, and then are scored (on a scale of 1 to 10) by randomly selected audience members. NPS is a team event, so scores count to the team score. Throughout, audiences are encouraged to give raucous feedback, both to the poems and poets, and to the judges. Wednesday and Thursday, preliminary bouts will be held at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. at several venues at once. Highlights are St. Paul-based all-women's team Punch Out Poetry at the Artists' Quarter (408 St. Peter St.) Wednesday at 9 p.m., defending champs (and St. Paul-repping) Soapboxing Poetry Slam at Wild Tymes (33 Seventh Pl.) Wednesday at 9 p.m., and Minneapolis's SlamMN! at the Artists' Quarter Thursday at 9 p.m. The results of the preliminary bouts determine who makes it to semifinals, and the top 20 teams will be pitted against each other at the Artists' Quarter, the Fitzgerald Theater, the History Theater, and the McNally Smith Auditorium (8 p.m.; check out www.nps2010.com to find out which teams will be at which venues). Finally on Saturday at Roy Wilkins Auditorium (175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul; 651.989.5151) at 8 p.m., the top four teams will battle it out for the top spot—we'll hope for many local faces and poems to cheer for in the finals. For a complete schedule and list of locations, visit www.nps2010.com. (Pictured: Defending champs the St. Paul Soap Boxing Team)
Aug. 3-7, 2010

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