poetry slam

Tuesday, Jan. 13, marks the first poetry slam of 2015 at Sweet Peaches, 1800 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd. Slams have been around since the early 1980s, so most people are familiar with the structure. They’re competitive spoken-word poetry contests. This is not your hippy Aunt Karen’s poetry reading: There is judging and prizes and a generally competitive atmosphere.

Each poet is given a three-minute slot. No poet may use notes, props, costumes or musical instruments. A panel of judges mark each poet’s performance from 1 to 10. The Facebook page for the event says, “Remember, the point isn’t about the points, the point is the poetry!”

The host is local poet Lance Newman, who has emceed a number of poetry slams in the area. The event takes place at 7 p.m., an hour after Sweet Peaches’ typical closing time.

Sweet Peaches’ Facebook page boasts it’s the only “deli-type restaurant in the West End,” but when Pamela Haines opened in February of this year, lots of people didn’t think she’d make it very long. There were a variety of “reasons” she wouldn’t make it: the location in the Russell neighborhood was a detriment and not an asset, its small size, the fact that it bucks the soul food/fast food climate of the neighborhood. But Sweet Peaches is still there and is now hosting other community events.

To enter the poetry slam, you need to sign up on the Facebook page — it costs $7 to enter and is free for spectators. The event is being coordinated by Maxwellsounds, a music social network.