On Monday September 12th, the highest-scoring poets of the Vancouver Poetry Slam’s summer season met and battled it out for the honour of representing Vancouver at the Individual World Poetry Slam in Cleveland Idaho in October. Similar competitions were taking place all over North America and the world. Over 70 poets will meet in Cleveland between October 12th to the 15th to decide who this year’s best poet is.
Vancouver’s poetry scene is a diverse one with an affinity for wit and comedy on top of the usual tropes found in most slams and Monday was no exception. It was a roller coaster ride of confessions, admissions, tongue-in-cheek lambasting, scathing rhetoric and metaphorical expression. From poet to poet the audience waited in anticipation, not knowing what was coming next. The judges worked hard to maintain even judging as style after style was thrown at their ears.
Starting with a ‘lightning’ round of one-minute poems, the two lowest-scoring poets were cut. After that, the three-minute round said goodbye to one poet because of a tie and then the six remaining poets entered the four-minute poem round. Three poets were cut after that and four poets went into the final round of two-minute poems. Newcomer Maddie Gorman, Fernando Raguero, Chris Gilpin and RC Weslowski duked it out and when the dust settled, Chris Gilpin was our champion.
The night was a literary show of fireworks as every poet brought their best work. Although ‘competitive poetry’ may seem like an oxymoron to some, there was no doubt in the minds of the cheering, laughing, crying audience that competition brought out the best in one
of the most amazing poetry scenes in North America.
~ by Duncan Shields, International Slammaster of the Vancouver Poetry Slam