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Author Topic: no repeat rule  (Read 27726 times)

simone

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #60 on: August 19, 2009, 11:34:02 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

Great. Now I've undermined any credibility I had in this thread!

My error: I meant the 1983-1984 season, which obviously culminated in a 1984 Finals.  :P
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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #61 on: August 20, 2009, 03:57:26 AM »
Briefly: I like the 2-repeat compromise the best.  (And even a one poem repeat--the strategy that goes into that is exciting to me.)  I also think that it is totally reasonable for a team to have 16 solid pieces--specifically a team that has made it to final stage.

To me, nationals should be showcasing three things:
-the best work being done that year
-the best work/ideals/feel/community of your city and venue
-the ridiculousness and art of the slam competition

When I apply the repeat rules to each of those categories . . .
-I would love no repeating from year to year.  I know it is ridiculous to police and keep track of, I know.  But I do think it would change nationals dramatically and make it a whole lot more interesting.

-When it comes to representing your venue and your hometown, for me it comes down to choice.  I personally believe that any good venue wants to show as many pieces as they can.  That they can save pieces for finals.  That they should have 16, hell, 20, 24, 32 good pieces to throw.  But I feel like it should be left up to the teams to decide what they throw on final stage.  I want to see new poets.  I want to see experienced poets pushing themselves to do new, interesting work.  I want to see new poems.  But I don't want to prevent a team from bringing me a poem that they think is magic.  I want to see us hold each other responsible as a community, to challenge each other . . . but I don't think it necessarily needs to be done through rules.

-Slam is about good poetry.  It is also about knowing your audience and throwing the right poem at the right time.  To me, there is an art to it.  (An art that I have soooo not mastered.)  Simone, I've been reading your nats blogs a lot in the past few days (I was in god awful meetings, and they were a much smarter, intelligent, and more entertaining option), and there is a difference between how you guys played finals versus your other bouts.  Every stage showcased the quality writing that Cantab is known for, but (it appeared) that on the finals night, each poet seemed to have one saved poem they were ready to go with, and the decisions were when to throw each poet vs what poem.  That difference is not good or bad or whatever--it's just a difference, but I do think it is a result of the no repeat.  I think the option to repeat has little effect of the audience. It doesn't, but I do think it affects the slam itself--the opportunity to mix it up, throw a curveball, and really do the absolute best piece for that moment.  (Emphasis on that moment . . . versus BEST pieces.  You all are slammers, you should know that concept is undefinable and disputable--and that you sound sorta silly when you say it.)  We don't do a showcase of the 16 best poems.  We do a slam.  And I believe repeating on finals lets the shit go crazy, as it should be.


I'm still figuring my opinions out, and I'm very malleable.  I just wanted to chirp in a bit.
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Ransacked

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #62 on: August 20, 2009, 06:51:18 AM »
Mike and Steve got me thinking that what we have here are two sides who haven't agreed on what the Finals Stage means (or should mean), and that's why this argument keeps happening even while we keep thinking we've made good points

Your third point is valid, and I think the core of where the rub is with this situation, some of us are writers and believe that the no repeat rule pushes teams to push their art, and come with 16 FIRE poems between 5 people, so they can claim the title of THE BEST for a year. There are others who are entertainers and donít really care about the art, they care about the crowd and the entertainment of said crowd,

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?"

I'm not taking a position on no-repeat. I'm trying to clarify the grounds of the argument inside the parameters of the mission.

(emphasis mine)

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.

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.

(emphasis mine)

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.

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!

(emphasis mine)

John and Simone have vastly different ideas of what teams on the Finals stage are trying to prove.

John feels that the Finals stage is where a team proves: "We have the best poems."

Simone feels that the Finals stage is where a team proves: "We are the best poets."

Those are totally different things.  There is no reason, none, that the two have to coincide. You can have one or two spectacular, nigh-unbeatable poems, poems that bring audiences to their feet and elicit 10's from our motley judges, but that doesn't make you a spectacular, neigh-unbeatable poet. We all know that, right? I mean, don't most of us have at least one silver arrow in our quiver? Don't most of us have a go-to poem that is probably going to clobber everything else in the room? I'm nobody in this scene, and even I have an unbeatable poem. You think I'll be making an appearance on the Finals stage anytime soon? Not a chance.

Some guy named Y.E. Yang won the PGA Championship last weekend. Tiger Woods came in second. Everybody in the room who thinks Y.E. Yang is a better golfer than Tiger Woods, please raise your hand? Exactly. If Yang's mom were on the PSI forum right now, even she wouldn't have her hand up.

Go back and look more closely at the text:

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.

If you think Finals should be the most entertaining show, where poets who have done well in prelims and semifinals have a chance to showcase their go-to poems, where a crowd of thousands gets to see and hear the "unbeatable" poems teams have worked on all season...then you probably agree with John. John's conception of the Finals stage will probably yield us better NPS DVDs and more satisfied audience, though I'm not sure how we'd quantify that.

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!

If you think Finals should be the most demanding show, where poets who have done well in prelims and semifinals are called upon to dig deep into their quivers and prove to a crowd of thousands that they still have one more silver arrow, that they make a habit of writing "unbeatable" poems day-in and day-out, that in the final analysis all of their poems are "unbeatable," because the poets themselves are unbeatable, then you probably agree with Simone. Simone's conception of the Finals stage will probably yield us a better NPS Champion team and a more enduring artistic legacy, though I'm not sure how we'd quantify that, either.

So, is Finals stage about the best poems or the best poets?

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #63 on: August 20, 2009, 07:52:27 AM »
So, is Finals stage about the best poems or the best poets?

Not sure this is the crux of the argument. Maybe the best teams vs. the best poems. But since Ransacked is the second person to refer to themselves as "a nobody," maybe that should be addressed.

It is frustrating see a known poet score as much as 2 points higher because they have a name, were goodly enough to take the mic and fart into it. Slight exaggeration, but I saw a poem that screamed "Season 1 of Def Poetry" this year, probably the worst poem of the whole week, and it scored in the 28-29 range because the poet was well known and the performance was... intense.

Another poet really wowed me this week. I picked up their CD and, excited to hear two specific poems, I realized after a listen or two that what this person did was create really decent concepts. Original, but much less poetry and much more monologue. Profound at times, a line or two dipping into the realm of poetry, but mostly it was the delivery, which itself was derivative of this person's teammate, that sold the work and landed this individual in the 29s often.

The common factor being a friendly audience and the judges - those not affiliated with teams, not poets themselves, those we desperately want to please on Finals night.

If that's the case - that we want to please the uninitiated - then we don't have to worry about the "best" poems. Performances will be intense; with no-repeat in place, it is unlikely that a team will "waste" a slot with an unworthy poet/poem. From the outside, it's the experience, not the poetry itself, that is the appeal.

Chew on that for a moment, then tell me we need to think of the audience.

Disclaimer: Not hating on the two examples I gave above, just pointing out that what scores high doesn't necessarily indicate the "best" poetry. Gimmicks can often provide a break in the bombardment of poetry to the uninitiated.


Scott Woods

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #64 on: August 20, 2009, 08:04:41 AM »
I have never watched a NPS Finals show and thought, "That's the best poet at NPS."  
I have occasionally watched a NPS Finals show and thought, "That's one of the best poets a NPS."

Our contest isn't even close to being designed in such a way to ascertain who is the best poet or team of poets, not really.  Even with our best efforts we generate the results of a popularity contest, and not even a good one, since the results are hardly reflective of the room.  Our scoring system in no way suggests that there is anything genuine about this so-called competition.  And in this way it is just like every other art "contest"; it is facile.  It is bogus.  It is subjective.  It isn't supposed to be an actual competition and guess what: it isn't.  All of the rule changes you guys want to make every SM meeting don't change this basic fact.  Even NUPIC doesn't accomplish this, with its arena/gladiator scoring.  In the end we're all attempting to judge or refine the judging of something that has no POINT in BEING judged and has no given standard with which to be judged beyond sentiment, which isn't a standard.  It's a feeling.

Finals is arbitrary.  It is a hoax.  It is smoke.  It is a collection of art agreed upon by random people posting random numbers based on completely unknown factors.  So in a sense, it shouldn't matter whether we repeat or not.  It's all just an exercise in art dissemination, and we know that all of that art need not be good.  But I consistently vote for no-repeat because I want that art to do what Slam demands the poets do to all of their audiences: ENGAGE US.  I am not engaged by poetry I have already seen that week, or a dozen times, or simply converted into a group piece.  To me, repeating on THAT stage breaks this tenet of Slam.  

I maintain that these shows are primarily about the paid audience.*  But since the audience thinks theyíre getting our best poets and poetry (even if that is ultimately impossible to prove), we can present them with artists that have taken more than a callisthenic effort to be heard.  I donít want to watch the equivalent of a workout on Finals stage.  I want to celebrate what we do as artists, not your same painting over and over.


* - Though at the point that Iím out of the competition, Iím audience too.









Scott Woods

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #65 on: August 20, 2009, 08:06:51 AM »

-Slam is about good poetry. 

No it's not.

Scott Woods

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #66 on: August 20, 2009, 08:13:56 AM »

If that's the case - that we want to please the uninitiated - then we don't have to worry about the "best" poems. Performances will be intense; with no-repeat in place, it is unlikely that a team will "waste" a slot with an unworthy poet/poem. From the outside, it's the experience, not the poetry itself, that is the appeal.

Chew on that for a moment, then tell me we need to think of the audience.


But it's not JUST about the uninitiated.  At some point or at some level, the community is allowed to be an audience too.  We are also allowed to be engaged or surprised or moved.  We - the knowing audience - guide the uninitiated, too, not just the teams.  If it's just going to be about the uninitiated, then the initiated don't need to go to Finals and the teams up there can just roll out their greatest hits and PSi can get smaller, cheaper venues and the after-party can start at 8:00 instead of midnight.

There is no reason why we can't have it both ways, and a 2-poem repeat allows enough flexibility to stem much of the tide, I think. 

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Re: no repeat rule
« Reply #67 on: August 20, 2009, 07:38:56 PM »
I have never watched a NPS Finals show and thought, "That's the best poet at NPS."  
I have occasionally watched a NPS Finals show and thought, "That's one of the best poets a NPS."

Our contest isn't even close to being designed in such a way to ascertain who is the best poet or team of poets, not really.  Even with our best efforts we generate the results of a popularity contest, and not even a good one, since the results are hardly reflective of the room.  Our scoring system in no way suggests that there is anything genuine about this so-called competition.  And in this way it is just like every other art "contest"; it is facile.  It is bogus.  It is subjective.  It isn't supposed to be an actual competition and guess what: it isn't.  All of the rule changes you guys want to make every SM meeting don't change this basic fact.  Even NUPIC doesn't accomplish this, with its arena/gladiator scoring.  In the end we're all attempting to judge or refine the judging of something that has no POINT in BEING judged and has no given standard with which to be judged beyond sentiment, which isn't a standard.  It's a feeling.

Finals is arbitrary.  It is a hoax.  It is smoke.  It is a collection of art agreed upon by random people posting random numbers based on completely unknown factors.  So in a sense, it shouldn't matter whether we repeat or not.  It's all just an exercise in art dissemination, and we know that all of that art need not be good.  But I consistently vote for no-repeat because I want that art to do what Slam demands the poets do to all of their audiences: ENGAGE US.  I am not engaged by poetry I have already seen that week, or a dozen times, or simply converted into a group piece.  To me, repeating on THAT stage breaks this tenet of Slam.  

I maintain that these shows are primarily about the paid audience.*  But since the audience thinks theyíre getting our best poets and poetry (even if that is ultimately impossible to prove), we can present them with artists that have taken more than a callisthenic effort to be heard.  I donít want to watch the equivalent of a workout on Finals stage.  I want to celebrate what we do as artists, not your same painting over and over.


* - Though at the point that Iím out of the competition, Iím audience too.


Amen and hallelujah.