All throughout April, Portland’s high schools will be hosting poetry slams in order to determine their most word-spinning, verse-twisting, beat-laying, heart-strumming poets. The finalists will go on to compete in the second annual citywide slam, Verselandia, hosted by the charismatic two-time national slam champion Anis Mojgani. Last year’s slam packed the Mission Theater, and the students’ performances brought the audience to raucous laughter, to tears, and to their feet. One student even got the judges to help him ask a girl to prom, and then informed the audience she said yes before performing a poem he wrote during intermission.
With year one setting that high standard and year two in a bigger hall, expect the competition to be even fiercer. The event is a partnership between Literary Arts and the city’s high school librarians, and the ultimate goal is one day to fill the Schnitz with inspired, young poetry.