Into the second round, about half of the crowd had dissipated and only eight competitors remained. The poetry slam continued with many good and bad performances until the final four remained. Of these four, Terran Randolph shined with a bittersweet reflective poem about American society that completely captivated the audience and sent him into first place. All the competitors were more than cordial with each other and really seemed stoked just to be able to read their art for the public.The scene was as hip as you can imagine: tea-sipping teenagers and their chai-chugging elders stacked wall-to-wall inside of Bend’s Townshend’s Teahouse awaiting local hip-hop icon and slam host Jason Graham a.k.a. Mosley Wotta to begin the fourth Third Thursday Poetry Slam held for all ages. Although Silver Moon Brewing Co. has been doing the 21-and-up poetry slam for many years, Graham thought it was time to expand.
“A lot of kids are great writers and artists, they should have an opportunity to voice it,” said Graham after one of the slams.
Over a dozen participants entered the three-round competition. The poets’ ages ranged from early teens who made the audience laugh with clever rhymes about school, to old men who made everyone in the building cry with poetry about their animals who passed away.
Townshend’s Third Thursday Poetry Slam is not just another venue for Bend’s youth to spend their time once a month, it is an opportunity for everyone of all ages to express themselves in a unique and powerful way. The all ages poetry slam has sparked a cry from Bend’s youth for more of these opportunities, and organizations are answering.
CADA|CASA is offering Social Commentary Through Hip-Hop and Slam Poetry through the Poet House. The organization hopes that public schools will catch on and eventually slam poetry will be an accessible art for every public school student.
For now, we will just have to settle for packing into the Teahouse for some chai and good poetry every third Thursday of the month. I suppose no one’s complaining.
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