ENCINITAS — Between the jeers and cheers, the finger-snapping and the whooping and hollering, poets ascended the stage at the historic La Paloma Theatre to recite the spoken word in front of a packed house.
The annual Full Moon Poets Winter Poetry Slam was held Feb. 8. The open call began at 6 p.m. when hopeful poets put their name in a popcorn box, from which only 18 were selected at random to perform in the first of three rounds. The competition gives participants three minutes to recite an original work without props or costumes, but with plenty of emotion.
Judges were also selected at random from the audience. The five member panel scored each poet on a scale of 1 to 10. Some were more generous than others — eliciting a range of responses from other audience members.
Rudy Francisco took home first place with a prize of $350. A regular participant in the poetry slams, Francisco has been in the top three at prior contests.
Corey Taft, 24, ended up winning second place, taking home $100 in prize money collected before the first round from the audience. Taft is a veteran performer at the poetry slam, where he took first place last winter. He said the size of the audience is inspiring. “I do a lot of poetry readings but they’re mostly at small coffeehouses,” Taft said. “This is awesome that so many people show up to hear poetry in Encinitas.”
Jim Babwa, a local veteran of poetry slams, won the third place prize of $50.
The Full Moon Poets Society sponsored the biannual event along with Ice Tea Service of San Diego, Pacific Station and the 101 Artists’ Colony. Another poetry slam will be held in the summer.
“It was a cold windy night but it was a great turnout,” Danny Salzhandler said. “The poetry was diverse and just excellent as usual.”