also the fact that a team can bypass semis to be in group piece showcase is frankly a bunch of bs---we know we cannot win semis so lets try to get some cash in the group piece thing is not making poetry the point it is makin cash the point---IT IS AN HONOR TO GET TO SEMIS NOT TO BE TREADED LIGHHTLY ON
I assume that this specific comment is directed at my team, the only team to ever consciously drop out of semi-finals to enter group piece finals. Since you chose NOT to ask and only made assumptions of profiteering on the part of my team, allow me to make effort to clarify for you.
My team did not make the decision lightly. As one of only two teams to pull a rank of 3 last year (2008) and NOT make semi-finals, Loser Slam was particularly devastated to see the list of top 20 teams. This year we achieved a total rank of 3 again and were excited but extremely cautious about getting our hopes up. We requested to be put in group piece finals shortly before knowing if we were in Semi Finals.
The night prior we sat as a team in our hotel room and I proposed the idea of bowing out of Semi's (we had a 1 after the first night of prelims, and were considering the “what if” scenario). My argument was this. We had four more individual poems to offer in Semi’s. Many of the poems were pieces we were not fully excited about. As a slam scene, our team members make an oath to only bring pieces we wrote during the current year. We like our slam team to represent the writers they are currently and not try to win on old signatures. However, two of my poets were rookies so that wasn’t an issue.
I told my team members that as their coach my most important goal was not winning, it was giving them (particularly my rookies) the opportunity to meet and get to know this wonderful community of poets that exist at the national poetry slam scene; to give them exposure and let them become a part of this community. The first night of prelims we earned a rank of 1 but also earned some minor popularity as the unknown team that beat out Charlotte, the two year National winner. It was a little bit of notice. We would have not beaten Charlotte without the group piece “Hype Man”; a poem I was in love with, and that was now getting some buzz at Nationals.
We had an additional group piece, “Baldwin” that poked some satiric fun at group pieces (ironically) that we were really excited to share with the community. So we were faced with a dilemma. We could potentially get into Semi Finals and do some poems that we were not excited about, or enter into group piece finals and let our community of friends hear the poem we were becoming known for, and the poem we were excited to share with them. We knew that group piece finals would have a greater audience of poets and peers than any semi would. It was an extremely tough decision. All members of the team were extremely competitive slam poets. But we realized that winning was less important than sharing the poems we were excited about and introducing our rookies to the greatest community of poets that I know.
We honestly never expected to place at Group Piece Finals. Honestly, until Deb Marsh handed me a check, I forgot that Group Piece Finals even paid. We were just excited about the poems we did; Even if they were “half-ass written language”.
Congrats on your Executive Council appointment. So good to see you at WOWPS.