Author Topic: no repeat rule  (Read 25903 times)

simone

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #45 on: August 19, 2009, 08:09:30 AM »
The Mission is not anti-competition.

Absolutely agreed! As you know, Steve, I love the competition. It's why I am still arguing with Scott and Bill on another thread that I want to see the draw as early as possible, and why Dahled and I are still going toe-to-toe about the "fairest" rotation. I enjoy the "sport" of slam, and it's a large part of what brought me to this community, and part of what keeps me here.

But it's not pro-competition, either; competition isn't name-checked in our Mission Statement. "Stimulating creativity" is. "Creation of poetry" is. "Foster education" is. Competition could indirectly do all these things. But asking poets to write more poems for our competition achieves them directly.

Nor does the mission or the rules "legislate writing." Our system, supposedly, rewards the best poems and the best performances. The question inside those parameters is "how many of the best poems does a team have to perform?"

Steve, I think we all agree that our system does not reward "best" poems or performances. It rewards poems liked best by a random set of bar patrons. Along the way, this happens to "build audience participation" and perhaps "encourage artistic statement." But nowhere does our mission suggest that we are making poetry better though competition... The wording, in fact, carefully avoids this statement entirely. Our mission has nothing to do with competition.

The rules of our competition, however, have everything to do with our mission: and our rules do legislate writing! That's we we don't allow alll four of a team's poems to be written by the same solo poet. That's why we say everyone must be represented in performance and in writing. And that is exactly why we are having such trouble with the group piece rule right now: because most of us believe that every poet who hits the stage must have written a poem, but we can't figure out how to legislate and enforce that.

The Mission Statement doesn't have to be game-set-match, no. But I do think it is an important philosophical starting point. If the motivations of our body fail to match PSI's Mission, then either our motivation or the Mission is a mistake.
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Mike Simms

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #46 on: August 19, 2009, 09:46:20 AM »
If that was not another slam dunk, then it was a very pretty layup

TSPrunier

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #47 on: August 19, 2009, 10:03:23 AM »
The Mission is not anti-competition.

The Mission is not pro-competition, either.

The Mission Statement doesn't have to be game-set-match, no. But I do think it is an important philosophical starting point. If the motivations of our body fail to match PSI's Mission, then either our motivation or the Mission is a mistake.

Granted, maybe "game-set-match" is too strong a position, but I'd still like to hear someone rebut the remarks of Scott and Simone. I just don't understand how people can claim it's for the good of the audience attending Finals WITHOUT SUPPORTING EVIDENCE after only two years (rule change was adopted before Finals 2009).

I saw St. Paul in prelims once, in semis and finals this year. I would argue that they were the strongest team all week, but the best I had seen from them was in their first preliminary bout (also their most competitive bout), closely followed by semis (where they netted TWO 30s). They were the best on finals stage, but their work in prelims was that much stronger IN MY OPINION. Hopefully Matthew and his team don't take any offense to this, because as I told him stage-side, I feel his team not only earned, but deserved to win based on their body of work. Like Denver in 2006.

I haven't felt that happened as much in recent National Poetry Slams... but then again, the points aren't the point, right? Right?

I can see St. Paul's trajectory toward the championship being a macrocosm of every slam poet's: You bring what you feel is your best work and then you start writing to the judges' preference because you desire to win. When I got over that, I continued writing and learning more about myself, as many slam poems are entrenched in identity. And after a year on the bench as SM and host of my venue, I finally got to compete. By the time the grand slam rolled around, I made my team with two of my strongest pieces still in my ever-deeper pocket. And that's just after two years of slamming. And I'm a nobody on the national scene. St. Paul's poets have been killing it for years and, with respect to the other 67 teams, arguably made the week competition more of a coronation, their first prelim excepted. I see it as a result of years of work, not just one week of competition.

Any working poet writes two or three indisputably great poems a year. If they slip and slide like I did these past two years, that number drops to one or two. If they don't write, they shouldn't be competing at NPS. I consider myself on the prolific side and do not hold poets to my quantity standard (and again, I'm a nobody). But if we're going to have iWPS, WOWPS and NPS, plus regionals and local slams, how can anyone argue against continuing to write, edit, rehearse and perform new work?

This is why I'm for no-repeat. Yes, let the poets use their current/recent/whatever poems throughout an iWPS/WOWPS/NPS cycle, which means I could understand hearing a poet doing the same solo piece at all three PSi events in a (few) given year(s), but please don't tell me someone who writes to such a high standard cannot produce enough work to get through a tournament.

In September, the tennis U.S. Open begins. To win the tournament, you have to win seven (7!) matches. Andy Roddick cannot beat Roger Federer. Suppose Roddick makes it to the finals against Federer. Do you think it would be fair for him to say, 'Hey, remember how I trounced that dude in the second round? I'd like to apply that performance to the finals. Now give me the trophy. Thank you.' Tiger Woods was defeated in the (fourth and) final round of the PGA Championship last week because he missed a bunch of putts. What if he could recall his first-round performance and be declared the winner?

In poetry slam, we rarely have to contend with weather (although this year, Austin Neo Soul did a bang-up job by not missing a beat when the lights went out at 10@2 during their heart-wrenching group piece about Army wives - I'm still in awe), but we do have four rounds of competition. Asking teams to prepare for three (or 3 1/2) rounds instead of all four is like putting training wheels on Lance Armstrong's bike. Why?

Sorry for all the sports analogies.




Steve

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #48 on: August 19, 2009, 10:50:33 AM »
Not being contentious, only thorough:
Simone said,
Quote
Steve, I think we all agree that our system does not reward "best" poems or performances. It rewards poems liked best by a random set of bar patrons.

Define "best" how you will. That is still the intent of the game, isn't it? "Poems liked best by a random set of bar patrons" is still a definition of "best." In fact, some of our judges come from all over the country to sit in that bar to be a judge. They are not random at all. We pick them to meet certain demographic ideals. Again, not random. In this instance, "poems liked best" are as much the "best poems" as the Olympics determine the best gymnasts or divers or flag floppers on the dance floor. As much as the national cheerleading championships define the "best cheerleaders."

It's the way we play the game and the intent is to find the "best poems" inside the parameters of our rules and our mission. Might think of this as part of a semantic game, but I think it is a distinction with a difference. We know the judges can end up not picking our favorites. But we make them the judges anyway.

bobdapoet

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #49 on: August 19, 2009, 11:04:16 AM »
So, what do the members of the audience that are not on a team think?

TSPrunier

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #50 on: August 19, 2009, 11:33:06 AM »
In fact, some of our judges come from all over the country to sit in that bar to be a judge. They are not random at all. We pick them to meet certain demographic ideals. Again, not random.

Umm, while that's not necessarily in scope of this thread, it does warrant a response. I find that disturbing, perhaps in the way it was phrased. One way to take it is that 'People come from all over the country to see the National Poetry Poetry Slam and understand they might be picked to be a judge'; another is 'People from cities with certified PSi venues come to be judges at NPS.' And there are more than two ways to take that, many of them bad. Slippery slope and going to drive me to launch another thread suggesting a pool of qualified judges (coming soon to a forum near you).

Back on topic:
In this instance, "poems liked best" are as much the "best poems" as the Olympics determine the best gymnasts or divers or flag floppers on the dance floor. As much as the national cheerleading championships define the "best cheerleaders."

It's the way we play the game and the intent is to find the "best poems" inside the parameters of our rules and our mission. Might think of this as part of a semantic game, but I think it is a distinction with a difference. We know the judges can end up not picking our favorites. But we make them the judges anyway.

I just contrasted NPS (and all slams) with competitions like gymnastics, cheerleading and flag-twirling (drill team?) in my post above, as those are competitions judged by qualified judges. Okay, I used tennis, golf and cycling, which rely on empirical evidence and no subjective appeal, but still.

Slam holds onto its roots by not selecting qualified judges - they just have to be there. If we are going to compare ourselves to competitions with judges who are working from a standardized set of criteria and have an understanding of the proceedings (i.e. What makes a good poem/performance, what is merely playing to the crowd/shouting/not poetry/etc.), then we need to rewrite the rules.

Still, all of that is another thread, coming to a forum near you.

In relation to this thread, I'd argue that if there are judges who came to judge, then why give them the same poem to judge more than once? 'I saw this poem, in response to such-and-such poem on Wednesday. And now I see it again, leading off the third round on Saturday? Do I give it the same 8.8 or do I give it a 9.7 because it's later in the round or didn't contradict the powerful poem and force me to make a choice I didn't want to, like on Wednesday? Awgeez!'


simone

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #51 on: August 19, 2009, 02:01:33 PM »
Not being contentious, only thorough:
Simone said,
Quote
Steve, I think we all agree that our system does not reward "best" poems or performances. It rewards poems liked best by a random set of bar patrons.
...It's the way we play the game and the intent is to find the "best poems" inside the parameters of our rules and our mission. Might think of this as part of a semantic game, but I think it is a distinction with a difference. We know the judges can end up not picking our favorites. But we make them the judges anyway.

This debate about "best slam" vs. "best art" is fascinating to me every time I have it --and it feels like at least once per week. But it seems to me to have deviated from the question at hand, which was: is no-repeat supported by our Mission Statement or not?

I'm always happy to delve into this argument. But I think we're way off on a tangent.
Simone Beaubien
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Steve

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #52 on: August 19, 2009, 02:37:47 PM »
Not really. It came from our differing definitions of "best poem" as that applies to mission.

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #53 on: August 19, 2009, 02:50:57 PM »
If that was not another slam dunk, then it was a very pretty layup

Where in the world are you from?  And when do I get to meet you!!!
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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #54 on: August 19, 2009, 04:01:24 PM »
So, what do the members of the audience that are not on a team think?
I've only attended one NPS, in 2008. As an audience member, I support the full no-repeat rule.

But doesn't it burn you that while you're watching poetry in Bar Q, there might be some amazing poem happening in Bar Z and you'll miss that poem unless that team gets to repeat it at Finals?

No. I've made my peace with opportunity cost. I'm there to see live theater. Each performance is going to be one-of-a-kind. I look at the lineups, I pick which bar I think I am most likely to see something I'll enjoy, and I go. I wish nothing but the best for all the other audiences, in all the other venues, in every city on the face of the Earth. I didn't get to eat in every great restaurant in Madison, I wasn't in every Facebook photo, the signature group piece in 2008 happened while I was on a road trip out to see Frank Lloyd Wright's house. People told me "Sperm" was hilarious. I told people Taliesin was gorgeous. Everybody at every NPS misses out on some stuff. Welcome to the human condition. There is a surfeit of excellence in the world. I don't get to TiVo my life. I wouldn't want to.

As an audience member walking out of Finals, I understood that there were plenty of good poems I didn't get to hear. So what?

AmyD

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #55 on: August 19, 2009, 04:15:04 PM »
So, what do the members of the audience that are not on a team think?
I've only attended one NPS, in 2008. As an audience member, I support the full no-repeat rule.

But doesn't it burn you that while you're watching poetry in Bar Q, there might be some amazing poem happening in Bar Z and you'll miss that poem unless that team gets to repeat it at Finals?

No. I've made my peace with opportunity cost. I'm there to see live theater. Each performance is going to be one-of-a-kind. I look at the lineups, I pick which bar I think I am most likely to see something I'll enjoy, and I go. I wish nothing but the best for all the other audiences, in all the other venues, in every city on the face of the Earth. I didn't get to eat in every great restaurant in Madison, I wasn't in every Facebook photo, the signature group piece in 2008 happened while I was on a road trip out to see Frank Lloyd Wright's house. People told me "Sperm" was hilarious. I told people Taliesin was gorgeous. Everybody at every NPS misses out on some stuff. Welcome to the human condition. There is a surfeit of excellence in the world. I don't get to TiVo my life. I wouldn't want to.

As an audience member walking out of Finals, I understood that there were plenty of good poems I didn't get to hear. So what?

(snaps fingers wildly)

johnmiller37

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #56 on: August 19, 2009, 04:55:27 PM »
Can we agree that although we want to promote poetry and encourage and empower others to write and participate. But THE NPS is a Competition. wrapped in a festival. The final stage should be about showing your very best work. It may be the only time a first time visitor sees or hears what we do.

if we can agree that possibly some of the best work COULD be used in prelim bouts that have limited visibility, is it not our duty to show the world why we think that these 4 teams are OUR very best....and shouldn't our very best be able to show what they feel is their very best work.

Buy removing the no-repeat rule we are not saying you have to re-peat a poem but you have a option.

Again I thought allowing only 2 possible repeats in finals was a good middle ground. That way you MUST have 2 new poems and MAY repeat 2 poems used in prelims

But Nothing says that you Have to re-peat anything...and I am sure some of you wont  on a principle issue. But Finals should be about A teams best work against other teams best work.
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jbradley

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #57 on: August 19, 2009, 05:28:29 PM »
I think the varied time proposal may be a great way to shake things up and allow for a no-repeat rule to exist without argument.   I wanted the no-repeat to only apply to poems on finals stage (once you use it, you can never use it again), but that's me. 
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simone

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #58 on: August 19, 2009, 05:49:10 PM »
Can we agree that although we want to promote poetry and encourage and empower others to write and participate. But THE NPS is a Competition. wrapped in a festival. The final stage should be about showing your very best work. It may be the only time a first time visitor sees or hears what we do.

Yes! Ideally, I'd like NPS to be a capital-F Festival wrapping on a small-c competition creamy center.  ;D  But, yes, I think we are essentially in agreement.

But here is my competition philosophy: if you have a "best" poem you want to share on Finals stage, then you save that poem for Finals stage. That is how competition works. If you want a showcase of "best" poems... Well, maybe we should scrap Finals and create a show of the sixteen best poems we saw at NPS.

if we can agree that possibly some of the best work COULD be used in prelim bouts that have limited visibility, is it not our duty to show the world why we think that these 4 teams are OUR very best....and shouldn't our very best be able to show what they feel is their very best work.

What you are saying here is a return to the idea that Finals is somehow worse without these "best" poems. I thought everyone was already in agreement that we cannot quantify how much better or worse a show Finals is with the no-repeat rule in place. I still don't see how the four Finals teams can guarantee a "better" show for an audience who has never seen them, and I think this is unprovable. I don't think a first-time visitor to the event has any inkling of what a "better" or "worse" show is.

This is like saying Game 7 of the 1983 NBA Championship was a lousy game because everyone was tired from the previous six. Maybe we should have let the Lakers and Celtics rest up for a week before playing it. I'm sure that would have been a much better game technically, right?

Buy removing the no-repeat rule we are not saying you have to re-peat a poem but you have a option. ...But Nothing says that you Have to re-peat anything...and I am sure some of you wont  on a principle issue. But Finals should be about A teams best work against other teams best work.

It's true: you don't HAVE to repeat a poem. But some teams will. And that means that you are permitting teams with only 12 poems to become MY national champions. I want the team I point to as champions to have more poems than that!

Again I thought allowing only 2 possible repeats in finals was a good middle ground. That way you MUST have 2 new poems and MAY repeat 2 poems used in prelims

John, it is a good middle ground. I personally believe we should require no-repeat, but I concede that our community wants it otherwise --I am arguing in the hopes of bringing folks who haven't thought hard about it over to my thinking, not trying to drum up support for another sad run at the no-repeat rule.

Yours is a reasonable compromise between two kinds of purists. It doesn't satisfy me, but I see it as a vast improvement over our current situation.
Simone Beaubien
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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #59 on: August 19, 2009, 07:26:09 PM »
This is like saying Game 7 of the 1983 NBA Championship was a lousy game because everyone was tired from the previous six. Maybe we should have let the Lakers and Celtics rest up for a week before playing it. I'm sure that would have been a much better game technically, right?

Um, the Dr. J- and Moses Malone-led Philadelphia 76ers won the 1983 NBA Finals. And there was no Game 7 - it was a sweep.  ;D