Nearly two-thirds of the 76 teams in the National Poetry Slam competed in their first bouts on Tuesday night at multiple venues throughout downtown Madison. The bout winners on Tuesday were Boston Cantab, SlamCharlotte, Austin Poetry Slam, NoCoast Writers Collective from Lincoln, Hayti Heritage Center from Durham, The City Slam from San Francisco, Chicago Mental Graffiti, New York Urbana Poetry Slam, San Diego Slam, New York louderARTS, Art Amok in Atlanta, and Denver Nuba.
The Milwaukee team also competed in its first bout, coming in second to SlamCharlotte and ahead of Phoenix and Boise in the first slam on the Evjue Stage at the Bartell Theatre.
The complete listing of scores is provided here by the National Poetry Slam, and the teams are currently ranked as follows:
TEAM Rank Score TEAM Rank Score New York UR 1 118.2 Decatur 3 114.5 Denver NU 1 116.8 Dallas DP 3 110.3 San Francisco 1 114.1 Fayetteville 3 107.6 San Diego 1 112.6 White Plains 3 107.4 New York LA 1 112.1 Columbus WB 3 107.1 Lincoln 1 111.4 Portland 3 106.9 Austin AP 1 111.2 Detroit EC 3 106.1 Boston CT 1 108.9 Sacramento 3 105.9 Charlotte SC 1 108.5 Philadelphia 3 105.8 Chicago MG 1 107.4 Boston LL 3 105.0 Atlanta 1 107.3 Phoenix 3 103.4 Durham 1 97.8 Chicago GM 3 93.2 LA PL 2 116.0 Salt Lake 4 111.8 Charlotte RD 2 113.8 Springfield 4 106.1 Richmond SR 2 111.3 Fort Worth 4 105.2 Berkeley 2 111.2 Mesa 4 105.1 Columbus BP 2 109.3 Honolulu 4 104.5 Montevallo 2 109.3 Maui 4 103.6 Hampshire 2 107.8 Flagstaff 4 103.2
Lincroft 2 107.6 Buffalo 4 102.6 Detroit BP 2 106.5 Cincinnati 4 101.1 Worcester 2 106.3 Boise 4 100.7 Milwaukee 2 104.4 Eureka 4 98.9 Toronto 2 95.9 Paris 4 98.7
The top twenty teams from the first two rounds of the slam, which run through Thursday night, will move on to the semifinals on Friday.
Members of several teams competing on Tuesday, mostly those finishing on top, have reported about theirs and others bouts on the first night of the slam.
One member from the Worcester team reported the scores both from his bout, in which the team from central Massachusetts finished second to Chicago Mental Graffiti at the Brink Lounge, as well as the winning effort put in by Boston Cantab at the same location earlier in the evening. "New England had a very good night tonight," he notes, "and I hope it will continue for the rest of the week."
Andrew Ek of the Lincoln, Nebraska team, known as the NoCoast Writers Collective, noted its winning performance over Mesa Sacramento, and Columbus BP on the Drury Stage at the Bartell, and also commented on the winning performance by NYC Louder Arts that followed at the downtown theater later in the evening. "At this point, if I take in any more words," he concluded by the end of the night, "my brain will explode and I will never be able to speak again."
Similarly, a member of the winning San Diego team wrote a detailed report on its victory at the Comedy Club on State Street. "The night was worthy of celebration and the team hooked up with the Hollywood Slam team, who placed second in their bout against NY-Urbana," he noted. "It's been a good trip so far and last night made it even better. It was good for both teams to taste success in their first round bouts. Things are looking good for Southern California Poetry in Madison."
Finally, Amena Brown notes the Atlanta's team win at MMoCA. "Detroit gave us a run for our money, they came in second to us by only tenths of a point, following by Philadelphia, and Cincinnati," she explained. "We went and had celebratory pizza and most of all a sista enjoyed some celebratory sleep."
Brown goes on to explain the dynamics of the competition, and what the first night meant to her team: "Slam nationals is like a relay race where you play your part and hand off the baton to someone on your team to make sure the job gets done and that it gets done right. Winning this first bout was like the first leg of the race for us, but of course the ultimate goal is to win the whole shebang."
The Madison slam team will compete in its first bout on Wednesday night, taking on squads from Houston, Manchester, and San Antonio at 8 p.m. at MMoCA.