First Thursdays Poetry Slam!


Tonight was the First Thursdays poetry slam at Studio One. First Thursdays is a monthly event and typically draws a huge, enthusiastic crowd. The event was founded by a poet named Kealoha, who is a real inspiration to me. When First Thursdays was just starting up, Kealoha used to stand on street corners handing out fliers, doing anything and everything he could to get people to come. Now First Thursdays is the largest registered slam competition in the world. For what it’s worth, I hope First Thursdays loses the “largest in the world” distinction while simultaneously retaining its attendance. It would mean that slam poetry as a whole is gaining popularity.


For those of you who aren’t yet familiar with the term, slam poetry is “the competitive art of performance poetry.” It is poetry meant to be read. To compete in slam poetry, you need to not only pay attention to what you are saying, but also how you are saying it. That makes a huge difference in how you write, believe me. You get three minutes to say whatever you need to say, and then you get judged on a number by five judges picked at random from the crowd. The highest and lowest scores are dropped, and bingo, there you go. It’s not really that scientific; you never know who the judges will be or what their tastes are, but whatever, you know? It’s better that way. You can’t really cater to the judges if you don’t know who they are or what they like.

I was originally going to read some of my material tonight, but decided against it. I honestly expected to hear a lot of rants about George Bush tonight, and I didn’t want to be lost in a sea of angry rhetoric. It didn’t happen. Tonight we got love poems. Drat. Shoulda gone for it. I suppose it’s a good sign that there wasn’t a lot of rage tonight. Maybe it shows that people are moving on already. In any event, the poet turn out was great tonight. The audience less so. That’s too bad because we had some great pieces read tonight…to the emptiest house I’ve ever seen at First Thursdays. I mean, I could see the stage – whoa. That photo of the crowd I put up actually crops half the audience, and that’s considered empty. I think the rain had something to do with the low turn out. It’s been raining a lot in Honolulu recently.

2 Comments so far

  1. james beaulieu (unregistered) on May 3rd, 2005 @ 2:15 pm

    yo i was at the poetry slam at studio one back 2003 years ago it was one of the most inspiring moments in my life the girl her name was c-love was so raw and beautiful she made me realize what was to be and how to be. i now live in minnesota and tried to find something like what i experienced in hawaii but to no result. living life in the STP is hard with no words to say or hear.
    thanx… dangerKID.

  2. and bingo (unregistered) on November 15th, 2005 @ 7:21 am

    Great blog, enjoyed browsing through the site

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