alibi online
Weekly Alibi PodcastFree Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.20 No.24 | June 16 - 22, 2011 

Festival Preview


Slam poets shoot each other with words

Poets from around the country will take aim and fire at one another, turning Albuquerque into an O.K. Corral of lyricism. The 2011 Southwest Shootout features wordsmiths from Louisiana, Colorado, Texas and, of course, New Mexico performing their particular flavor of poetry. Presented by ABQSlams, the format is highly interactive: Audience members picked at the top of the night acts as judges, who rate the poets after every delivery. The crowds are usually encouraged to be vocal about how they feel, reacting to performers, hosts and even the scores themselves.

Sixteen teams are competing in this year’s shootout, says co-producer Eric Bodwell, and each gets four chances at the mic. Everyone has to participate, but poems can be performed solo or by a group. The teams square off round-robin style, then their points are tallied.

Co-producer Don McIver says Shootout teams are usually chosen by their hometown slam communities, using it as a sort of warm-up for the National Poetry Slam. A win here doesn’t affect your chances at nationals, though McIver says teams that win do get a trip to “Glory Town.” They also get cash prizes.

The poets often take more risks in these rounds, Bodwell says, and there are numerous tricks to use when competing in haiku that don't apply to slam.

McIver won’t bias audiences by citing a favorite team for us, but he makes a point to mention that Albuquerque poets are known for dynamic group-work. Bodwell, on the other hand, says he’s keeping an eye on a first-year entry from Wichita. Newbies don’t have the same preconceptions that veteran slam teams might, he says, and could make interesting, fresh choices.

Also generating anything-can-happen energy are two pickup teams. These are pieced together with poets who come from different cities, don’t regularly work together or didn’t make it onto other teams. This year there are some serious veterans on both, such as Texas poet Joaquin Zihuatanejo (see “Southwest Guest,” below). Bodwell calls the pickup teams a “colossal barrier” to the other poets winning and says anyone could take top place.

A special duel in the shootout is the Haiku Deathmatch, where many poets go in but only one comes out. The poets often take more risks in these rounds, Bodwell says, and there are numerous tricks to use when competing in haiku that don't apply to slam. McIver says a lot of the haikus are funny. In fact, it’s his favorite show to watch. Despite the “Deathmatch” title, it’s all in good, competitive fun. Bodwell captures the esprit de corps: “Slam is the game we play when we get together.”

2011 Southwest Shootout

All events are free except for the Finals

Friday, June 17

Preliminaries, 7 and 9 p.m. (two locations)

Winning Coffee Co.

111 Harvard SE

Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice

202 Harvard SE

Friday, June 17

Haiku Deathmatch, 10 p.m.

Brickyard Pizza

2216 Central SE

Saturday, June 18

Youth Poetry Slam, 2 p.m.

Warehouse 508

508 First Street NW

Finals, 7 p.m.

National Hispanic Cultural Center, Bank of America Theatre

1701 Fourth Street SW

Tickets: $10 at

Today's Events

Traditional Native American Dance at Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Since time immemorial, Pueblo communities have celebrated seasonal cycles through prayer, song and dance. Each weekend a different traditional Native American dance.

May Finale Opera Scenes at Immaculate Heart of Mary Retreat Center Chapel

Mysterious Continuum of a Dream at Eye on the Mountain Gallery

More Recommended Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Out of the Woodwork
    Out of the Woodwork6.2.2016