Tahoe Slam pits poets against each other in a cash competition

Poets will be aiming for a slam dunk with a cheering and jeering audience at Sierra Nevada College’s Fifth Annual Poetry Slam at 7 p.m. Friday, April 25, in Patterson Hall.

This contest of performance poetry casts aside the drawing room image of poetry readings, and opens the door to a raucus, fun-loving celebration of the art of the spoken word. With a promise to be entertaining and enlightening, the event is free and open to the public.

Any poet is invited to perform original work at the competition for a panel of judges. The audience is welcome to make its opinions known by hollering and hissing, cheering and applauding the judges’ scores  – all in good nature.

Poets who would like to participate in Sierra Nevada College’s Slam should arrive at least 20 minutes before the event to add their name to the list of competitors for a shot at the title of Tahoe Slam Poet of the year and the first place prize of $300. Second and third place winners receive $200 and $100 respectively. The contest is limited to the first 10 poets to sign up. Each poet should have two poems prepared.

Poetry slam events have ignited throughout the country, generating a renaissance of spoke word poetry. From its beginnings in Chicago where a construction worker wanted to breathe life into the open mike format, the poetry slam now has an annual championship tournament staged in a different city each year.

Likewise, Sierra Nevada College’s competition has grown each year with appearances by national poetry slam champions and preeminent spoken word artists as its judges. In its eighth year, the poetry slam at Sierra Nevada College will feature Pan Pantoja, a poetry slam champion and audience favorite. According to information on the Nevada Arts Council website, Pantoja is the artistic director of a Potentialist Workshop, he is the co-founder and curator at Reno Arts Works, which is a successful collaborative artist run gallery on Dickerson Road, an active member of Spoken Views Poetry Collective.