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Show Posts - karen_g

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General Discussion / IWPS hotel room share
« on: September 07, 2012, 09:53:19 AM »
My IWPS rep (as yet to be determined) & I are looking for another to share the room with. If you or your rep needs a room, please let me know.

Also, if others have reserved rooms and need help filling them, please post on this thread.

General Discussion / Slam Family Meeting Notes
« on: August 17, 2012, 04:13:21 PM »
Slam Family Meeting Notes

-Henry opened- described structure of EC, Slam Masters, Poets. report out of slam master meeting, no bylaws changed. Local slam masters should have an informal report. (Storm Poet definitions were only recommendations for the EC to consider)

-Host City report out- Charlotte thank yous, especially to Blumenthal & Inkera, Black Baree mentions picnic, youth slam off, Bluz as Finals host
Henry congratulates all teams for participating & sharing great poetry

-Erik details Finals Night & structure, welcoming teams Da Poetry Lounge, Nuyo, SNO, Killeen, thanks poets for being safe & looking out for each other.
   -First time scores went live, which worked well for the most part, delays only from wi-fi-less venues.
   -No protests, only there were ties & the one between Killeen & Golden State was not handled properly. Tie breakers are confusing, something to look at. MC kept the same order instead of coin flip. Better training of MCs and definitions in the future. Golden State’s concession is to have a poem posted on Finals Stage.
   -nobody had questions about the tournament

-Henry described the backstage of EC meetings every morning, thank yous to Seth, Hosts, Bout managers. Feedback to Seth went well.

-Report out on IWPS, storm poet changes are not in effect yet, they were only recommendations.
Venue sign up begins on August 20th
Opens up to storms & registered venues on September 10th
Closing date is September 21st
Make reservations ASAP for October 3-6th

NPS ’13- Boston, MA, Simone invites everyone to check out the site from last time for reference  and the new site is up already for 2013:
   -volunteer call is out already
   -Simone recognizes the challenges from last time & seeks to improve on it with larger venues & partnering with MIT
   -Day event sched geared more toward margins mics again, open showcases,new spaces for them & more opening up and crossing over to area communities for participation.
   -Simone apologizes for not having them last ime
   -Expansion on the ideas of safe space & branching out from that, workshopping, having professionals, etc.

NPS ’14, Oakland, CA, contract forthcoming.
   Not quite vetted bids for IWPS ’13, Spokane & a few others, nothing contracted

-Abbey report out—Finals night merch reminder, awareness of weddings in the host hotel
   -resignation announcement, job posting forthcoming, 30 day transition, will help to set up IWPS

-Geoff Jarok introduces himself Financial Manager
   -solid terms financially

-Slam Mtg update-
Rules Committee update, reviewing group piece rules as an example. 3 goals, 1.
make a more organized, shorter book 2. putting penalties ( & the info/backstory) with conventional knowledge at the back 3. a better FAQ

-Storm selection process will be in the minutes & in the forums *only recommendations were made to the EC, no changes*-members can seek the agenda on the forum

-Rule clarification: NPS Host City has to declare 21+ age restrictions by April 1st (no joke)

Comments & Questions
   -Plagiarism in the haiku slam. Strategies were talked about, talking to host & poet involved.
   -Killeen asked about poet passes over all access passes only covering 5, there was a suggestion to add a slam master/ coach code to registration, for a 6th pass. Host city can design this, suggestion to revisit this issue.
   -Spirit of the slam votes
   -Happy Birthday to Donny Rose-

General Discussion / What's in Your Bag? Survival packing hints for NPS
« on: August 02, 2012, 02:28:20 PM »
Survival guide to hotel (camping) for NPS, *please add your own tips, too!!!*

I’m always learning new things and look forward to sharing stories & tips about how we get to NPS & then live with each other once we’re there, including some ways to cut corners. Whoopeecat gave me useful tips when I started about long road trip food, ( like burritos in his motorcycle’s tail pipe!) keeping a small cooler for beverages & another one for food. Road dog stories.I love these (& it often helps me to remember what to pack!)

Some of us will be driving, some flying, some can be adapted. If I fly, I still usually try to seek out some kind of grocery.
So I thought it might be interesting to set up a thread where we talk about this stuff & exchange tips on how we do this. Might be especially helpful for newer teams & sms.
Have a hard time packing light? Maybe someone is really good at that, or just figured something out to share.

I’ll get started.

~Slam mama’s overnight bag inventory. I go through a checklist of things to have in my bath bag, with a related “throat bag.”
~In the throat bag; lozenges/cough drop assortments, throat coat/lemon ginger/lemon/sleepytime/camomile assorted teas, salt, cayenne, singer spray, honey (packets or bear). Going in & out of heat & A/C, plus all our talking & yelling really do damage on our instruments. The coffeemaker in a room is a godsend, not only for coffee or tea, but gargles & tinctures, too.

~EARPLUGS- Sleeping in a room with lumberjacks (I am one) & a chorus of snores, don’t leave home without these. Trust.

~Also, my bath bag should never be without an extra little tube of paste, advil, safety pins, tums, immodium, Emergen-C, condoms, tampons, Neosporin, bandages, hand sanitizer, tissues, wipes, rubber bands & razors.

~Dryer sheets/ Arm & Hammer. Sheets can go in shoes, clothes & drawers to keep them fresh. A box of baking soda & odor eaters are good for this, too. Being in a room for a week, in the summer can be pretty odiferous. Check in with your team--some have allergies to strong colognes, perfumes & air freshners (that would be me) to be aware of, some have a dulled sense of smell while others are hypersensitive. Incense rarely hides anything.

~Swimwear, work-out clothes. People overload happens, poem overload happens & the pressure of good strategy & not second guessing game plan, workshops, meetings---all of it accumulates and over stimulates. I strongly encourage taking a little self-time every day. Many of us are introverts, doing this very extroverted activity—take space & check in with yourself & your boundaries. Personally, I love floating in a pool, especially in the afternoon before our last preliminary bout. Or pushing some weights around. Or shooting pool. Pack for whatever your solitary time requires.

~Coolers, room food. I tend toward low blood sugar & get cranky if I don’t eat properly. I like to have some control over my food & my budget. The Pita Pit across the street from the hotel is great. I don’t remember it being open at 3am, though. I always pack a bag of instant-hot-water-only food, crackers, peanut butter, fruit, energy cookies from my local earthy crunchy food store & stuff I can put in my bag if I’m out most of the day. I also bring water & coffee containers. If I’m flying in to an event, I find a grocery. If I drive to an event, I pack a cooler & instead of using bags of ice, I freeze water in empty juice containers I can then reload from the ice maker at the hotel. Take ownership of your hunger—it can be difficult to be on a team with very different eating patterns & hunger cycles.

What are some of your guidelines, tips, hints & tricks?

General Discussion / NPS 2012 Hotel Room Board
« on: July 24, 2012, 03:01:09 PM »
Anyone looking for a 4th roomie, last minute entourage, or volunteers looking for a split room,

I thought I'd kick off this thread, as I know someone looking for a room.
She's part of our entourage, is a newer poet (first NPS), GA certified massage therapist,
& sweet human.
Doesn't have to be the host hotel, but preferred.

Backchannel me if you are looking to fill your room.

General Discussion / Streaming Slams
« on: March 28, 2012, 04:05:38 PM »
There's been a lot of debate and emphasis put on live streaming events, particularly as a way of sharing our poetry and our poetry scenes together across the miles. Some of us have used it as a way to record pieces for history or as a fundraising tool for 24hr+ readings.
More and more, there's pressure to stream events as a way to not completely miss out on the big events we sometimes can't attend.
With this in mind, as well as the various challenges that present themselves in trying to stream, such as sound or image quality, expenses put into streaming and equipment, here are a few informal survey questions for you, so we can info-share, learn from each other and maybe all of us can better our processes.

-How often do you live stream at your slam?

-If you do, to what purpose? Publicity? Fundraising? Document-archive?

-If you charge to view, what do you charge?

-What system do you use? Ustream or some other?

-What camera or equipment do you use? (I-phone, the mic and camera on a laptop, etc)

-Does your equipment come from your slam's budget or is the use of it donated?

-How much money do you budget to do this or is it donated?

-Are your quality expectations low or high (HD, someone's laptop, doesn't matter, it's the content that counts)?

-What challenges, problems, solutions did you find in doing this; your trials, errors, and fixes?

Thank you & if you have questions, especially technical ones to add, please share them.

General Discussion / Karen G., running for EC~here it goes!
« on: December 14, 2011, 03:25:46 PM »

“If we want a beloved community, we must stand for justice, have recognition for difference without attaching difference to privilege.”
― bell hooks

"Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the ‘fight with fire’ method…is bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community.
—Martin Luther King, Jr., 1957

Beloved Poetry Slam Community,

   I, Karen Garrabrant, aka, KG, Karen G., Slam mama, am rolling up my sleeves and volunteering for a job with the spine of our organization, the EC. Many of you don’t know me at all, some from my infamous hugs and those who know me better, by my loud mouth, laughter, and competitive gristle. Although I would rather be famous for hugs and the ability to love more than anything else, I am best known by those closest to me to be honest, focused, attentive, tough on task, respectful, and Germanic in attention to detail and deadlines. I come from a page poetry background using work-shopping methods. Carolyn Forche and the poetry of witness are big influences on me, as are DIY aesthetics from punk music. I mention this because it’s how I proceed in life and how I found slam poetry. We often speak from the margins of culture to the center in a participatory fashion, rather than performer or lecturer to audience, we seek to engage, to make words into direct action with an audience.
I’m fascinated by the way different scenes and regions still manage to retain unique flavor and representative voices against the grain of homogenized and globalized culture. I have toured around the country and Vancouver as a poet-performer, but also as an observer. I believe there is always more to learn about what we do as artists and creators. I do not believe everything has been said or expressed before and I have great admiration for scenes who are not satisfied with their most recent achievements, continuing instead to push forward and expand the sides of the stage (Example: One of the elements of Denver NUBA’s win? At regionals, I overheard how they could make their performance better, even as judges rattled off their winning scores, making it even less about the game, more about the show. I think this is symbolic of how we should be moving forward as a whole organization, by remaining inquisitive, curious, asking how we can improve, even as we succeed). I believe in the right now of slam poetry and that the work expressed now is some of the best I’ve ever heard, that I enjoy more than I don’t. If there comes I time when I dislike more poetry than I like, then it will be my time to retire. If a person doesn’t have a positive view of slam poetry right now, I am of the opinion that that person shouldn’t be running to serve the community of right now. I value poetry as work and honoring that work and I value slam teams as representative of the voices behind them, the regulars and ancestors people carry with them.

I adore poetry slam for being a rare space where professionals and our own cult heroes share a stage toe-to-toe with rookies and are subjected to the same rules, as if a band on the cover of Rolling Stone could share the stage with someone in your local paper. There is a lot that works right with PSI and I seek to honor and extend the basic integrity of the event. I am not an elitist and I believe the very heart of slam is not elitist, either.

This is not to say the status quo is fine. There is also room for growth. I have a few things I would like to see  happen, but I want to stress that I am not running for a position on the EC with an agenda on my mind or a grocery list of changes I am pushing to happen. I arrive to this process open, with rolled up sleeves, as a willing enthusiast for the art of organizational work.

As I am in other areas of organization and as a poet who loves poetry and listening even more than speaking, my ears will always be tuned in to consider various points, opposing or not. As a host, poet, slam master, coach and fan, I already negotiate between these spaces. I’m someone comfortable with being in the middle and still seeing both sides, which I think is an essential quality for someone in a leadership position. I also have years of experience in art organization.

I’m qualified with board membership and work in my hometown as a founding director of Girls’ Rock Camp ATL, I co-curated two Ladyfests, serve as programming partner with Charis Books and More, co-founded and host the monthly, eleven year old series Cliterati, in addition to running Art Amok Poetry Slam.

My commitment to PSI and poetry slam in general is ironclad. I have only missed one Nationals- level event since 2004 and have yet to miss any slam master meeting. Before fielding my first team in 2006, I did my research first by asking a lot of questions and volunteering. I continue to learn by visiting, hosting and competing in different regional competitions as often as I am financially able.

Some of my other skills include seeing a job and pairing people to that work, match-making people to tasks and people to each other. Poets on tour maybe familiar with me as a resource to venues and events around the South East, and I see the process of staying informed and updated as a constant one. I admit that one of my faults is that sometimes I am more focused on the big picture than the smaller ones, yet I think this fault can be turned to an advantage when poised for a nationally-focused EC position. I work in a library by day, so I enjoy researching answers and disseminating information.

Carrying over from the work I do during the day, I’m very aware of not only the preservation of the past in archived material, but in the going forward of technology and open access. I feel like PSI and poetry slam is in a similar position. Some questions I’d like to explore as part of the EC are issues we’ve seen cycle through from time to time. I come bearing questions more than agendas. I would like to see better transparency of processes and decision making as well as extending the accessibility of poetry and what we do.

How do we maintain a revenue stream with live or U streaming events? Could it be possible to migrate from DVD formats to downloadable ones? Who in the community can help with the archival work and dissemination of performance material? Taz and company do a miraculous job, Gabrielle did a wonderful job--how can we make that work easier? How can we make what happens at our events more accessible to those back home or an on-line public? How can we better serve poets in our community in financial distress or without healthcare? How can we continue to work on our own internalized –isms and encourage workshops to align what we preach with practices/making words into action? What are some of the essential, codified elements to our event and what are some we can rotate out to keep it fresh? How can we adapt elements of Tourettes Without Regrets, Real Talk Live & the Encyclopedia Show and learn from other slam outlets like Black on Black Rhyme? How can we make our events more accessible to poets with children? What should we put on cities and what should PSI do? Should we consider narrowing host cities to regional areas and rotate between them? How can statistical analysis of scores develop the best, most fair rotation for poets and teams? With the expansion of included teams, should our finals include more than 4x4? How can we better utilize the wide array of talented people in our community and incorporate their skill sets into our organization with media, grant writing, accounting, PR, etc.? How can we make sharing information more accessible to all?

These are all questions I bring to bear from issues I have heard brought up here and there over time, by poets, by slam masters, by leadership. I look forward to designing answers to these questions with current/future members of the EC, who I respect and would be excited to work with, as well as poets, peers in slam mastership, coaches, devoted audience members, and anyone else. If you have any questions for me or wonder about my voting records, I welcome them.

I will be honored to serve my community with this EC or to run again in the future.
Thank you very much for your consideration,

Karen G.

General Discussion / ATL can host a W&I 2/5/10
« on: January 22, 2010, 08:26:48 PM »

I have an opening on our slam schedule specifically for W& In bouts
It's coming up fast.

And this is for anyone else in the SE or anywhere:

FEBRUARY 5th, First Friday, ATLANTA ART AMOK will host W&I

Please hit me up if you're interested. We have lodging for people.
Also, Java Monkey Slam is looking for players  FEB 28th, Sunday (which I can't do, personally, because I'm going to Henry Rollins).

Let's kick it to the curb!

I found this while surfing msn:

Madison, Wisconsin: Friends help friends through the snowstorms

“It’s pretty hard to walk down the street of any neighborhood without getting a friendly smile or a friendly wave. Madison is a very active town with many bike paths, parks and lakes for residents to enjoy. Having so much in the way of outdoor activities really does get Madison’s residents interacting with each other in a fun environment.

Madison gets its share of snowfall every year along with some bitterly cold weather. It's not uncommon to go a week or two without cracking 10 degrees. You might think this would put everyone in a bad mood. It seems to have the opposite effect on many Madison residents, however. This past year, and really every year that I can remember, neighbors have gone way out of their way to help those who need assistance to make it through the winter. Every year there are one or two big snowstorms and even before the snow has finished falling there is the sound of people snow-blowing out the driveway of their house and many of their neighbors', or sights of people helping push cars through the snow of condo complexes, or just checking on their elderly neighbors and friends. My uncle used to fire up the snowplow in the morning and clear out the sidewalks of his whole street.” — John Schroeder, Madison real estate broker

Did you know?

    * There are 15 farmers markets throughout the city.

    * Madison ranks No. 1 on Prevention Magazine’s list of most walkable cities.

    * It’s a college town, and the thriving student life at the University of Wisconsin makes the area a vibrant epicenter for music, art and theater.

    * State Street is downtown’s pedestrian mall.

    * The median single-family home sales price is $217,000.

Slam Selection Processes / Art Amok! Atlanta Slam
« on: August 24, 2007, 01:58:41 PM »
Art Amok! Atlanta Slam
We hold our slams once  twice a month, on Saturday,
typically the 3rd or 4th,
7.30pm sign-up,open to all, first come, first served to 12, slam to follow.
We have Poetic Soul open mic, a feature, and then the slam.
It all happens at
Mocha Match

627 E College Ave # F
Decatur, GA 30030
(404) 377-7788
Get directions
and :
Sometimes as part of our series,
shows start earlier and include musicians, prompts, thematic open mics
and features, but the slam is always open to all subjects and closes out the night.
We use PSI rules & spiels for our slams, with a season running from
We don't use a points system, rather a rule of threes.
A poet qualifies for Finals by winning a slam and participating in two other Art Amok events.
Winners can do this by filling a feature slot at Art Amok,
participating in Win & Urin or an out-of town event, curating a show or hosting one.
Non-winners can qualify similarly by participating in three Art Amok slams and coming in the top five of a slam
three times.
Previous slam winners can slam as many times as they want, just not the same night as their feature, so the point is to slam often.
We don't penalize poets for arriving to the season too late to participate three times or more.For them, we hold a Last Chance, Sacrificial Lamb Slam.We take the top 1-3, depending on how many slots we have open, so long as the field isn't more than 10-12.
From Finals, we take the top 5 poets as the team.
At the first rehearsal, they're given a contract and the spiel of what is expected of them with availability, rehearsals, fundraising and participation in group work as a contributing, communicative poet.
We've had drop offs when the rehearsal realities kick in (not in '08, luckily).
Then we go down to the next poet in line on the Finals list of scores and see what his/her availability is. In 07 year we had two drop offs, but as a slamming poet slam master, I was positioned next in line.If there's a point when the list stops or availability goes lower than 4, depending on the time left in the season, we would probably withdraw or hold a slam off.
Using these scenerios, we've had a list of no more than twelve poets.
We hold a designated IWPS & WOWPS slam off which is open to all Atlanta area poets deemed as regulars at any venue in the scene---so far the ones who have asked for it and participate in it have been on teams.Should this not happen, we would invite team-ranked poets and then open up remaining slots to area poets.
We hold it as 1-minute, 2-minute-4-minute rounds, to fit the criteria outside of the usual 3-minute rule.
For WOWPS, have a slam off open to all after the slots for the highest ranked female poets are filled, those being city slam champions or champions on the national scene.
We're including criteria defining female as "once, presently, or future-tensed, socialized or personally identifying as a woman," to include any from our trans-poet population. We don't want to check under skirts and pants but we do want to acknowledge the definition of female or woman as varied in our community.

Things are also subject to change with venue or increase or decreases in the number of slams.
Backchannel me if you've any questions or concerns.
~Karen G.

General Discussion / plagiarizing on mics
« on: October 29, 2004, 02:27:47 PM »
how do ya'll handle someone with a kind of sensitive/shy person  who then gets up on a mic and performs a relatively obscure piece (but one that a couple of people recognize enough to tell the host) with a few minor word changes?how to you constructively criticize without temper tantruming them into staying away?how do you call them out and try to foster going on in their own voice instead? or do you write that person off as too dangerous, untrustworthy, and get them gone?

General Discussion / Inaugurate This!!!Jared Paul where are you?
« on: August 20, 2004, 09:09:13 AM »
There are some acty-fisted poets putting together a celebration/commiseration, probably at the Black Cat in DC on January 20th, 2005 for the Inauguration. We're calling it "Inaugurate This!"
The event will feature artists, activist/ non-profit tables, musicians, and poets, from across the country. Regardless of who gets elected, we're going to have some heavy-duty work to do.
I  especially want to recruit Jared Paul, because of his brand of vitriol ( & won't he be in DC anyway?), but I'd like to get a list going of other interested poets/groups of poets & see what we can do.There's a pretty kick booty wish-list of poets/writers/musicians/freaks going at the moment. We aim for a great cross-section so we can all network, linking our communities and issues together.
I know everyone wants to get paid, me especially, but the non-profit MotherTongue is sponsoring the event &, well, you know how "non-profit" goes, but we'll see what we can do.
Email me at if you're going to be in DC anyway or if you're interested, or what have you.

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