As part of the Rose City Comic Con 2014 programming, we were intrigued to see a Geek Poetry Slam scheduled.
Hosted by Portland Poetry Slam “Slam Master” Leyna Rynearson, the poetry slam featured a competitive face-off of eight geeky poets who tried to wield a silver tongue to win the hearts and votes of the crowd. The prize? Super-sweet Star Wars artwork.
The culture of poetry slams was apparent with call-and-answers and encouraged audience participation. Poets face-off and decide who goes first using the classic method of Rock-Paper-Scissors. The winner of each face-off is determined by the audience and advances to the next round. Geek Poetry Slam featured 3 rounds.
A demonstration round gave us a taste of what was to come with a poem inspired by Wall-E and one inspired by Pokémon.
From there, the competition began. We were particularly delighted by a Round 1 poem read by Rachel Rosenberg which featured several references to books including Harriet the Spy, Hyperbole & a Half, Scheherazade and Ender’s Game.
The poem won her an advancement to Round 2 where she was then eliminated when Clementine von Radics won the crowd’s favor with her Bruce Banner poem.
Steven Patton also won our vote with his love letter to our favorite book-loving Disney Princess, Belle. His round 2 poem was a comedic piece (Dr. Seuss sexy talk).
But the winner of the slam was Doc Luben who was victorious in all three rounds facing talented opponents. His obvious passion for his material was shared by the crowd. When he announced the title of his third (and winning) poem, the crowd cheered in recognition. Fittingly, “A New Hand,” from the perspective of Luke Skywalker, won Luben the coveted Star Wars poster.
The poem, Luben said, he wrote about three years ago and often performs at the local poetry slam.
“I’m mostly just excited to be here,” he said.
Portland Poetry Slam meets every Sunday, 7pm at the Glyph Cafe in Portland.