25th Annual National Poetry Slam

When: Aug. 5-9 2014

The 25th National Poetry Slam began on Tuesday and runs through Saturday night, concluding with the finals at the Scottish Rite Center. Over 500 poets representing 72 teams from around the United States and Canada are in Oakland to compete in the weeklong competition; the festival, which began in San Francisco in 1990 and hasn’t been back in the Bay Area since ’93, is also something of an annual reunion for a lot of the returning performers. Events begin daily at 10 a.m. and run until 1 a.m., including open mics, haiku battles, workshops, showcases, trivia, karaoke, and special (and secret) performances. “The point is not the points, it’s the poetry,” says co-director Maureen Benson via email. “You can predict all you want, but it takes ONE bout with one judge to change EVERYTHING! That’s what’s so exciting and devastating about this competition.” Be sure to check out the website for a full schedule of the slam and the side events.

Evan Karp

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