"Visual arts and music are very broadly represented [in Santa Fe], but the literary arts not so much," Nick Timbrell, the event coordinator for Poética, tells SFR. "We're trying to bring back the slam poetry thing."
But this isn't the slam poetry environment of recent years—with randomly selected judges and the crowd booing the competition.
Emil Dispenza, a participating poet who also does concept advertising and marketing for El Farol, likens the event to his 1964 experience with the poetry readings of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg in New York City.
"What we did back in the day was people got up and had something to say," Dispenza says. "It's about going back to basics. Relish the moment. Take a breather from technology. It's about getting back to that Thoreau moment."
According to Timbrell, it's about "the broader nature of poetry as a theme."
Also present are five members of the theatrical cast of Bless Me, Ultima, who enact a scene from the play adaptation, complete with audience interaction, to start off the evening.
The performances that follow span a wide range of styles and disciplines: memoir, original poetry, classic poetry, song and dance. Works of José Martí and Federico García Lorca get readings in Spanish and English. And the works of two Williams, Shakespeare and Wordsworth, make appearances as well. Finally, a poem with bellydance accompaniment and a pair of a cappella songs round out the offerings.
POETICA "NIGHT BEAT" POETRY SLAM
808 Canyon Road