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Local poets show off their talent

CARDIFF-BY-THE-SEA — The Friends of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library hosted the sixth annual Full Moon Poets Society Invitational Poetry Slam on Jan. 7. Six local poets recited original works in front of a packed house at the library’s community room.
The intimate setting was a departure from the two poetry slams held each year at the La Paloma Theater. However, the rules were much the same. Three judges were chosen randomly from the audience and asked to score each contestant on a scale of 1 to 10. Some were more generous than others, eliciting reactions from the crowd.
“You can’t hiss at bad poets, only bad judges,” emcee Bob Nanninga reminded the audience after one judge doled out a particularly low score during one of the three rounds.
Some of the contestants read from notes, while others recited carefully memorized lines. A haiku was thrown in for good measure by Keith Shillington in the last round.
Steve Connor, 60, gave an ode to aging in his take on the Beatles song “Yesterday.” “Suddenly, I am half the man I used to be,” he said to laughter from the audience. His propensity for humor continued in the poem “How Spit Got Down My Windpipe.” Connor details how each important moment of his life is ruined because spit goes down the wrong pipe at the most crucial moments including during his wedding vows.
Bruce Stephens brought the so-called “Cardiff Kook” statue to life in a holiday tale that placed the bronze surfer in the role of the Snowman of sorts as he invoked a good set of waves from a previously flat ocean. “When Christmas comes to the beach, even kooks do come out,” Stephens said.
While some poets prefaced their works with explanations, the city’s Poet Laureate, Trish Dugger, gave no indication about the subject of her poem “Night of the Grunion.” Like her other works, it got high marks from the judges and praise from the audience.
In fact, Dugger was declared the winner at the end of the night.
The poetry slam was part of an entertainment series sponsored by the Friends of the Cardiff-by-the-Sea Library. The first Wednesday of each month through June will feature a different event. Susan Hays, board president, said the series is free and open to the public.
The annual Full Moon Poets Winter Poetry Slam will take place Feb. 7 at the La Paloma Theater. Sponsorships are still available. For more information, visit