Poets battle on stage in biannual slam

ENCINITAS — Armed with original compositions, local poets took the stage for the Full Moon Poets’ 2011 Winter Poetry Slam — a biannual competition featuring a variety of poetry — at Encinitas’ La Paloma Theater on Feb. 18.
Seventeen poets performed at the event, which attracted a full crowd for an evening of emotional and uncensored three-minute performances. The Full Moon Poets’ biannual slams have been held in Encinitas for the past 12 years.
“You get everything from an older person reading a poem about flowers to something really political,” event organizer Danny Salzhandler said. “It’s a freedom of speech thing and can get really crazy; I sit there sometimes and just cringe but that’s the way it is.”
Following three rounds of competition, poet Eddie Brand took home first place. Past Poetry Slam winner Corey Taft placed second and Joe Limer came in third.
Although the event was free, donations were collected from the audience to be divided among the slam winners. Brand received 70 percent of the funds, Taft took home 20 percent and Limer received 10 percent, Salzhandler said.
“These slam poets are really on top of their game,” Salzhandler said. “We’ve been pretty lucky the past few years that it hasn’t gotten too extreme, but it does get really exciting.”
Five judges were randomly selected from the audience and their scores determined the winner of the slam. Scores were based on the quality of poem and the poet’s performance.
While the event’s main draw was the poetry performances, it was also an opportunity for North County poets to network with those outside of their normal writing and performance circles.
“I’m really excited to be here — I’m a writer and this is what I love to do,” poet Chad Shine, 27, said. He strives to promote unconditional love through poetry. “I came here to minister tonight through the microphone.”
Sixteen-year-old Wes Brink of Vista chatted with Encinitas’ poet laureate Trish Dugger before the performance. Brink was the youngest participant of the night and Dugger shared tried and true writing advice for his future poetry.
“You know, I was just telling him that I started writing poetry when I was about his age,” Dugger said. “The most helpful thing I can share is that he needs to be willing to let go of his lines sometimes.”
The 2011 Winter Poetry Slam was sponsored by Studio 2nd Street, Pilates of North County, and Moonlight Beach 7-Eleven, among others.
For more information about the Full Moon Poets’ biannual slam events, visit www.fullmoonpoets.org.

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