As we press forward through the traditional holiday season it is easy to get caught up in all of the trappings, or become overwhelmed, or become grumpy in an attempt to avoid the whole affair...all perfectly acceptable feelings as far as I'm concerned. Our community has always been an amalgamation of ideas, values and personalities, and I often find it is our greatest strength and asset.
As we round out the year I just wanted to impress upon you how great a year we've had as an organization and what that means to me. For the first time ever we have had all three of our national events come in the black, all while restructuring a lot of the behind-the-scenes work; bringing on new staff in the areas of marketing, event coordinating and volunteer coordinating; taking on the National Poetry Slam entirely in-house; recovering from great financial distress...all during the worst economy most of us have ever seen in our lifetimes.
As an organization comprised of poets, SlamMasters, staff members, volunteers and executives we realized the mission of PSi in Detroit, Berkeley and West Palm Beach through our national events, and regionally through all of our local shows. As a community we have bonded together to make things happen that people said couldn't be done, and seated powerful champions into the ever-growing history of Slam. Collectively we brought poetry into places it has never been, and proved our worth in the heaviest of times. People who sit in our ranks and who have walked our path in the past have graced the White House. Poets we know and love have gone on to great academic achievement, literary success and paved the way for other poets to realize their dreams through our powerful art form. We have lost and loved and fought and at the end of the day, won...together.
These are all things that you should be proud of, that you should be proud to have been a part of. These are things that, without your direct influence at your local shows and PSI’s national-level events, may not have occurred when they did. At this time of year, when there is so much to reflect on in such harsh times, we have this - Slam - to be thankful for. We have our communities and our venues to be thankful for. We have people crafting flyers and emails and online forums to be thankful for. We have organizers and people who work doors and people who pick out door prizes to be thankful for. We have bartenders and waitresses and back-up musicians to be thankful for. And we have poems – thousands and thousands of poems – to be thankful for.
I am thankful for all of you. And I am proud of you, and I cannot wait to see what you do next year.