Lake Effect Poetry 2015 Team Selection

NPS 2015 was originally set to be in Newark, NJ, but something happened behind the scenes (I don't know details but would guess it has something to do with venues and money) that has led to this year's National Poetry Slam returning to Oakland, CA.  While this is great for NPS, as the team in Oakland did a terrific job running 2014's event and is sure to put on another spectacular show, it does leave Lake Effect Poetry facing the same problem as last year.  The cost of getting a team from Cleveland to the west coast is greater than we are able to raise funds for.  Unfortunately, this means we won't be competing at NPS again.

The Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam, however, will be in Rockford, IL on June 19 and 20, and is within our reach.

Without the need to adhere to PSI's rules for team selection, we will be simplifying how our 2015 team is selected.  We will hold four slams between March and May in Canton, Akron, and Cleveland.  The winner of each slam will take a spot on the team.

Monday, March 16, 6:00 PM - Writing Knights: Stark at Cultured Coffee - 309 Cleveland Ave. NW  Canton, OH 44702

Saturday, March 21, 7:00 PM - Night Murmurs at Polymer City Records - 730 Portage Trail Ext. W  Akron, OH 44313

Saturday, April 18, 6:00 PM - Stardust Poetry at Karma Cafe - 4339 Dressler Rd. NW  Canton, OH 44718

Monday, May 4, 7:30 PM - Monday at Mahall's Poetry and Prose Series at Mahall's - 13200 Madison Ave.  Lakewood, OH 44107

Poets may compete in as many of these slams as they wish, however a NO REPEAT rule will be in effect.  Repeating a poem used in a previous slam will result in an automatic score of 0.  Once a poet has won a slam, they can still compete at later events but will not be in contention for a second spot on the team.  (There's only one of you and we need four poets to fill the team roster.)  Each slam will have a 3 minute rule, with a 10 second grace period and then one-half point deducted from the score every 10 seconds.  No props, no costumes, no musical instruments, and must be your own material.  All the regular rules.  Every effort will be made to have five judges for each slam, but if unbiased judges are in short supply we will make due with just three.

Some smaller fundraising events will likely be scheduled leading up to the Rustbelt slam.  The team will leave for Rockford, IL on Thursday, June 18 and return to Ohio on Sunday, June 21.  (It is a 9 hour drive, and just once I would like to know what it is like to be well-rested before a major slam competition.)

Please help spread the word about these team selection slams!  We want them to all be STANDING ROOM ONLY events!  Bring a friend (or five)!
By Vertigo Xavier

Lake Effect Poetry's 2014 Team Roster!

After tonight's Stardust Poetry show, your 2014 Lake Effect Poetry team will consist of AKeemjamal Rollins, Siaara Freeman, Skylark Bruce, and Azriel Johnson.

While we aren't sending a team to NPS this year, this team will be competing at the Rustbelt Regional Slam in Detroit.

By Vertigo Xavier

Stardust Poetry featuring the Lake Effect Poetry Battle for Rustbelt

Lake Effect Poetry is competing at the Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam in Detroit, MI on June 13 and 14.  The first two positions on the team will be filled by our current indie champs AKeemjamal Rollins and Siaara Freeman.  The remaining two spots will be determined by way of poetic slam combat at April's Stardust Poetry show.  This will be a one-round slam with a three-minute rule in effect, so bring out your BEST poem.  Poets competing for a spot on this team must be at least 18 years of age by June 13th and able to commit to being at the two-day event.  (Transportation / car-pools will be worked out once the team roster is finalized: you do not have to find your own way there.)  The two highest-scoring poets will win a place on the 2014 Lake Effect Poetry slam team!  There will be an open-mic before the slam begins.
By Vertigo Xavier


Lake Effect Poetry will not be sending a team to National Poetry Slam this year.

Let's be honest, participation in our slams has dwindled significantly since last summer.  Many of our poets have moved on (whether for jobs, school, or actually, in fact, moving away) or lost interest in competing.  We've had just-for-fun slams where nobody signed up to compete before, but now this has happened for the second time at a LEP qualifier.  The message is clear: we need to take a year off and focus on rebuilding our community, focus on bringing new poets and patrons into the slam scene.  While not going to NPS is disappointing (I was really looking forward to taking a team to Oakland), this is necessary.

In order to ensure we will be able to put a team together next year, we need your help.  We need you to help us grow the audience at all the poetry shows that take place across north-east Ohio.  If you have friends who write or enjoy reading poetry, bring them to a show.  If you participate in writing workshops, encourage the other authors there to check out some open readings.  Help us get new faces and voices active at the many shows in our region.

I also want to say THANK YOU to Joshua Gage (host of the Deep Cleveland Poetry Hour) and Azriel Johnson (boss of Writing Knights), whose shows we had planned to hold qualifiers at (in addition to my own Stardust Poetry events).

Thank you.


Vertigo Xi'an Xavier
slamministrator, Lake Effect Poetry

By Vertigo Xavier

Lake Effect's Women of the World Grand Slam!

Lake Effect Poetry and The Poet's Haven present the First Friday Poetry Spectacular at Karma Café in Canton, Ohio! December 6th's show is the Lake Effect Poetry Women of the World Grand Slam!

This month is a special event to determine who will represent Lake Effect Poetry at 2014's Women of the World Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas March 20th through 22nd!

● This will be a 4-round slam. Points will be cumulative.
● The rounds will be 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 4 minutes, and 1 minute.
● Each round will have a 10-second grace period, after which points will be deducted.
● All poems must be original. This is a solo competition.
● No musical accompaniment is permitted. No props may be used in the performances.

The winner will be crowned Lake Effect's WOW Champion for 2014 and will represent northeast Ohio at WOWPS. (The winner will also be required to take part in fund-raising efforts prior to the trip.)

This competition is open to any poets who identify as women and will be at least 18 years of age by March 19th. The winning poet must be a registered member of Poetry Slam Inc. by the end of December.

An open-mic will precede the slam for anyone who wishes to perform without entering or whom is ineligible for the competition (ie: dudes).

This is an ALL-AGES/UNMODERATED event, meaning that everyone is welcome to attend and participate, but parents should be aware that some performances may contain adult language and content.

There is no cover charge to attend this event, but please show your thanks and support for the venue by buying food and beverages from the café. Karma has great sandwiches and wraps! (NO OUTSIDE FOOD IS PERMITTED IN THE CAFE, other than food-drive donations. We really shouldn't have to tell folks this. I mean, if you went in Red Lobster and sat down to eat a bag from McDonalds, they would throw you out. Please don't make me throw you out. Thanks.)
By Vertigo Xavier

Coverage of NPS has been podcasting from NPS each night.  Think ESPN for poetry.  Lake Effect's first bout is breifly covered in episode 9 (starting at 7:15) and our second bout is covered much more extensively in episode 10 (starting at 50:45), including a clip from Christine's "My Passing 1988."  Check it out!  :-)

By Vertigo Xavier

This Just In... NPS2013

Christine Howey has been asked to showcase "My Passing 1988" on Final Stage at National Poetry Slam!

This will be at the Berklee Performance Center (136 Massachusetts Ave, Boston).  Final Stage HAS SOLD OUT.  However, it was announced at Friday's Slammaster Meeting that this year's Final Stage will be broadcast LIVE on the internet FOR FREE!  A URL for this broadcast is not available at the time of this posting, but it will be posted on either the NPS site (, the Berklee College of Music site (, or the NPS Twitter and Facebook feeds ( and

By Vertigo Xavier

Lake Effect's Second Bout at NPS2013

I broke tradition tonight in the draw by pulling the "B."  We didn't have to go first!!!  Salt City Slam went first, Sedona drew third, and Lawn Gnome got the coveted "D."

The bout was beautiful, every team's material flowed brillaintly, oftentimes with one team's poem setting up the next team perfectly.  You couldn't have asked for a better lineup of poems even if it was coming from a prearranged set-list!

In the first round we sent up the Arianna / AKeem / Caira group piece "Black Culture" and scored a 27.8.  Salt City's Willy Palomo scored a 24.9.  Valence from Sedona scored 25.6.  A group piece from Lawn Gnome scored 26.6.  We were in the lead by 1.2 points!

Caira went up in the second round with "Something to be Burned," scoring 26.1 after a group piece from Sedona got a 25.7, a group piece from Salt City scored 27.7, and Lawn Gnome's Joy Young got a 27.1.  Our lead was down to just .2 points...

In the third round, AKeem's "In Response to Women Who Say Men Can't Write About Rape" scored an even 28, as did Ryan Brown from Sedona.  Lauren Perry from Lawn Gnome scored 26.2 and another group piece from Salt City picked up 28.3.  Salt City moved into second, but we now had a 1.5 point lead!

Christine opened the fourth round with "My Passing 1988," leaving not a dry eye in the house and scoring 27.7.  This provided a perfect setup for Lawn Gnome's The Klute's "Adam and Steve" piece, but it only scored 27.4.  Salt City finished with a piece drawing comparisons between a poetry team (and the poetry community as a whole) and the Voltron Lion Force, scoring a 26.7.  Frank O'Brien from Sedona closed the slam, scoring a 26 even.

At the end of the night, Sedona had a score of 105.3, Salt City had 107.1, Lawn Gnome had 107.3, and Lake Effect Poetry had 109.6!

We won tonight's bout!

By Vertigo Xavier

LEP's first bout at NPS

Lake Effect drew an "A" tonight, meaning we had to go first.  (Wait, this sounds familiar...)

First up was AKeemjamal Rollins with "How to Love a Closeted Man (From the Wrong Side of the Door)" scoring 24.6.

Next was Christine Howey with "I Gotta Go," which had the crowd chanting "TEN TEN TEN" but got a score of 25.1.

Then was Arianna Cheree's "Black Girl Problems I" which collected a 25.7.

Finally, up went Caira Lee with "Broken Sentences," scoring 26.2.

It was a fierce bout, with great work delivered by Portland, Jambala Soul/Bull City, and Hear Here.  Lake Effect ended up finishing 4th in the bout.  Portland picked up the 1.  While a 4th place finish tonight means the team won't be in semifinals, we do still have our second bout tomorrow night.  We will be up against Sedona, Lawn Gnome, and Salt City Slam.

By Vertigo Xavier


The team will be leaving for Boston tonight, on our way to National Poetry Slam!  We wouldn't be able to go if not for all of you who have supported us through donations and purchases of the team anthology, art auction items, and raffle tickets!

We would like to send a special big THANK YOU to:

Steve Brightman
Christina Brooks
Skylark Bruce
Richard Hubbard
Jen Pezzo
Michael Salinger
Diane Schwartz

AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland

Scott Bratek

Crisis Chronicles

Dewey's Coffee

The DOBAMA Theatre

HobGob Press

Kattywompus Press

Mac's Backs Books

MoCa Coffee House

NightBallet Press

Phoenix Coffee

The Poet's Haven
(yeah, I know, it's a bit tacky thanking my own press...)
Record Revolution

The Root Cafe

Skyified Crochet


Writing Knights Press

By Vertigo Xavier