Albany’s Nitty Gritty Slam Team Competes in National Poetry Slam This Week

The Nitty Gritty Slam – which has been held on the first and third Tuesday evening of each month at Valentine’s Music Hall in Albany since September, 2011 – is sending a team of poets to compete in the National Poetry Slam in Boston this week.

All poets who participated in the twice-a-month Nitty Gritty Slam events throughout the season received points based on their performance scores. The poets with the highest point totals for the season competed in the Grand Slam on Tuesday, May 7, which resulted in the six top competitors being selected for the team headed to the nationals:

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Aron Ervin (aka Algorhythm): an English student at UAlbany from Albany

Christopher Fleming (aka Christopher the Poet / Saymo): a poet, spoken word artist and audio engineering student from Columbia, South Carolina

Darian Gooden (aka Poetyc Visionz): an entrepreneur, motivational poet and performer from Albany

Kevin Peterson: an electronics company employee from Albany

Michael Sloman (aka ILLiptical, the Wizard of Mars): a teaching aide and SAAJCC Teen Camp director from Albany

Daniella Watson: a student at the College of Saint Rose from Middletown

This is the second year that Nitty Gritty Slam has sent a team to compete in the nationals, and coaching the team for the second time will be Mojavi, an Albany poet, performer, teacher and host of the Nitty gritty Slam at Valentine’s.

“This year is full of excitement as we enter in to our second year attending the National Poetry Slam,” says Mojavi. “Boston is full of possibilities for Team Nitty Gritty as we have two returning poets from last year’s team and four new members who are all versed in various forms of poetry. It is a distinct honor to compete with the best of the best. I like our chances. We are going to bring our original, ‘Nitty Gritty’ style to the national stage.”

Since the first national was held in San Francisco with three competing teams in 1990, the event has grown into the largest team performance poetry event in the world. This week in Boston, more than 70 teams from all over North America, and a few from other places will converge for a week of poetry, revelry and competition.

Three days of preliminary competition begins on Tuesday (August 13) at seven different venues throughout Boston. The top 20 teams advance to the semi-finals on Friday (August 16), with the top four teams moving on the final round of competition on Saturday (August 17) at the Berklee Performance Center.

Best of luck to Team Nitty Gritty!

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