In honor of National Poetry Month, Village Books and Colophon Cafe are teaming up with poet Dee Dee Chapman to host the second annual The Write Riot Poetry Slam, Wednesday, April 24 at Colophon Cafe in Bellingham, WA.
Poets who would like to read their work can sign up for available spots beginning at 6:30 p.m. The show starts at 7 p.m. The popular event will fill up; arrive early to grab a good seat. The slam is open to all ages; there may be adult language and themes. Taylor Xavier, a fiber and spoken word artist from Everett, Wash., will be the featured poet. The Colophon will offer literary-themed drink and food specials. Please thank the venue for hosting the free event by purchasing from the menu.
During the slam, poets face off in the friendly competition. Judges score performances with good-natured encouragement from the audience. “A poetry slam is essentially competitive poetry,” Chapman says. “Let that contradiction sink in: Competitive. Poetry. Ridiculous! All art is subjective. A slam just brings a more interactive and communal appreciation to poetry. In rounds, our poets will share their work with the audience and judges made up from volunteers in the crowd. The judges, who will NOT be swayed by the audience’s opinion of the poem, will score each poem on a scale of 1 to 10. The audience, who MUST sway the judges, will cheer/boo the correct/incorrect scoring of that poem. After three rounds, we’ll crown a winner!”
Slam host Chapman is a writer and self-described “film nerd,” living in Bellingham. In September 2014, she published her chapbook, Colluvium, whose title poem received a 2017 Walk Award from the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest. She is the editor of Nine Lives Later: A Dead Cat Anthology, released November 2017. She is active in the local poetry scene and believes poetry encourages readers to “pause and look more closely at everything, by getting us to look closely at language.”
Chapman says poetry is “meditative, like walking down the path at Whatcom Falls and noticing individual leaves. It’s pleasurable to play with words, to see them juxtaposed in unexpected and exciting ways. It changes as our own languages evolve. If you’re looking for a new way to find joy in the world, I suggest poetry.” Chapman selected Xavier as this year’s featured poet, noting the Everett-based poet is “a voice we need” and “a delight to be heard.” She adds “she is a moving, charming poet, owns her own business (check out Whiskey Knits on Instagram), is an incredible human being, and makes amazing vegan snacks. I’m honored to have her come to Bellingham.”
The return of The Write Riot Slam on April 24 at Colophon Cafe is a special one-night only event. Contact the bookstore for details or check Village Book’s website or the Facebook event listing. To read more about Village Books’ National Poetry Month celebration, visit the bookstore’s website. All poetry is 20 percent off during the month of April at Village Books’ stores in Fairhaven and Lynden. Books will be available for purchase at the event. The Write Riot Slam was originally hosted from 2014 to 2016 in downtown Bellingham by poet Jessica Lohafer. Village Books and Colophon Cafe were honored to work with Lohafer in 2018 to revive the celebration of local poets and poetry. Lohafer recommended Chapman as this year’s host.