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Spoken word to be performed at Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival

Special to The Battalion

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 8, 2012 23:11

Poetry on paper is static. Slam poetry is animated, loud, a form on its own. This weekend, the Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival is coming to Bryan.


Thirty-nine poets will be descending on the city, from Illinois, Tennessee, Utah, Louisiana, North Carolina and all over Texas for the two-night event. They compete for the title of Texas Grand Slam Poetry Champion, sponsored by Mic Check.


“Texas was in a unique situation where it had more slam poetry scenes than any other state, but no national level slam poetry festival to call its own,” said Amir Safi, co-founder of Mic Check. “We thought, ‘Why not start our own festival?’”


Mic Check started seven years ago as a regular open mic competition. In August 2010, it became registered as a non-profit. The organization hosts weekly free poetry readings at Revolution Bar and Café in downtown Bryan as well as free writing workshops every Wednesday evening at 9 p.m. Mic Check does much in the way of community outreach, including poetry workshops for high school students in Bryan and Houston and working with various community service organizations in the Brazos Valley.


The Texas Grand Slam started with a successful application for the Pepsi Refresh Project Grant.


“The community really came together to support us. We won the grant,” Safi said.  “With the help of Pepsi and the Brazos Valley Arts Council, we were able to create Texas Grand Slam Poetry Festival.”


Sarah Classen, a senior biology major, said slam poetry digs deep into the heart of the poet while simultaneously drawing emotion from the audience.

“I heard a poet say that poems are like opening a wound and sharing it with others,” Classen said. “The Grand Slam is an awesome way to show what spoken word is and how one poem can affect people differently.”


Classen said the Texas Grand Slam encourages community involvement and showcases the art scene of Downtown Bryan.


“Aside from the poetry, the festival is a great way to bring the community together,” Classen said. “Downtown Bryan has a lot to offer, culture and art-wise,”


Bill Moran, president of Mic Check, said slam poetry is meant to bring people together from all different walks of life.


“The idea behind slam poetry in general is that people can have fun and come together to hear down-to-earth writing,” Moran said. “So audience members can expect to walk away with new friends and at least a few lines of poetry resonating in their bones.”


The Texas Grand Slam will take place at several different locations across downtown Bryan on Nov. 9 through Nov. 10. Two-day passes can be purchased online for $10 at

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