Portland Poetry Slam: Celebrating Competitive Art

Portland Poetry Slam in action.

Want to see folks get feisty about their art?

Then drop by Cotton Cloud at 6:30 p.m. on a Sunday and you’ll see people going head-to-head, celebrating the competitive art of performance poetry.

But for all the intensity of this set-up, at its heart this event is more collaboration than fighting. And the non-profit that organizes them – Portland Poetry Slam – is simply promoting the creation and performance of great poetry in a dynamic way.

Portland Poetry Slam is a non-profit seed organization of Poetry Slam, Inc., which is an international collective of poetry-promoting groups. The Portland branch holds to the same mission goals as its mother organization:

Stimulate creativity. Inspire mentorship. Encourage audience participation in the arts. Foster community. Be playful with words and experiment with the literary arts.

It’s a model that seems to works, as Portland Poetry Slam draw between 100 and 120 poets, regulars and curious bystanders. The environment is inclusive and encouraging, with performers sharing personal stories and existential ponderings through verses.

The nonprofit is currently migrating to a new, permeate home with Portland Center Stage, where it will continue to host events, workshops and slams. All Portlanders are welcome to drop into any of these offerings, and while donations are invited, no one is turned away for lack of funds.

This week PRP featured Portland Poetry Slam as part of our Community Voices series. The podcasts, featuring interview sessions with members of the organization, are below.

Nastacia Voisin

I’m a recent University of Portland grad and an aspiring journalist. I hail originally from Ontario, Canada. My passions and pursuits vary – currently I’m into indie films, podcasts, live storytelling and tango.

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