Asheville once hosted one of the most vibrant poetry slam scenes in the country. The legendary Green Door slams drew participants from throughout Western North Carolina, upstate South Carolina and East Tennessee, and featured performers from the national slam circuit (such as Chicago’s Mark Smith, founder of the first slam). The local team traveled to national events around the country, and the national slam was held here in 1994. Countless chap books were published, recordings sold and careers launched from the Green Door stage. Historian Howard Zinn even dropped by to see a performance by local poet and playwright David Hopes. Those were the days; and those days are back.
The Dripolator will host the new Asheville poetry slam starting on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 7:30 p.m. Organizer Kapila Medicine Crow has been working with Lake Eden Arts Festival slam-master (and Asheville slam alumnus) Navé to rebirth the verbal phoenix. Standard slam rules apply: original material, poems no more than three minutes long and no props allowed. The contest is arranged in three rounds with winners from each round advancing to the next.
That mean’s you’ll need three poems. They need not be memorized, but from long-time experience I can assure you that making eye contact with the audience and smiling is always good for a few points. Remember what Asheville’s most famous slammer, Allan Wolf, always told competitors: “There are no bad poems, only bad judges!” At the first competition there will be no entry fee.
— Cecil Bothwell, staff writer (and 1993 Southeast Slam Champ)