It's Not Just What You Say, It's How You Say It

Our reporter puts herself on the line at the National Poetry Slam

Even at 8 in the morning, Austin, Texas, is as hot and sticky as a locker room. I am on the hotel patio, waiting for the lineup for tonight's semifinal bouts to be posted, wondering how long we can stay in the saddle of this bucking bronco called Slam. "We" are the Los Angeles team--Thea Iberall, Poetri (yes, his name is Poetri), Jerry Quickley and I--four poets, linked by a love of words and a passion for competition. We are in Austin to sling verse and reap scores in the ninth--and largest--National Poetry Slam in history. Forty-five teams and 14 individuals...

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