CORRECTION: Leonard Sanchez coined the term Tamalewood several years ago and named his production services company Tamalewood, LLC. He specializes in sound services and equipment, while his partner, Eileen Street, provides accounting and producorial services. They also sell clothing with the Tamalewood logo and sponsor an annual award for the best New Mexico Filmmaker at the Santa Fe Film Festival.
Tamalewood ® is a registered trademark of Tamalewood, LLC, which reserves all rights in and to the mark. The Weekly Alibi regrets using a variation of Mr. Sanchez' mark on its May 14-20, 2009 cover.
[Re: Gene Grant, "Slamming Slam," June 18-24, 2009] On June 13, Albuquerque became the first city in the United States to designate a "Slam Poet Laureate" position. Determined by public acclamation via the slam poetry process of competition and scoring, the winner of the event was poet Danny Solis. Solis has been a fixture of the Albuquerque slam scene for over a decade, winning many events and awards and serving as Artistic Director of the National Poetry Slam that took place in Albuquerque in 2005. He has competed at the national level in at least a half dozen National Slam teams, winning two National Championships along the way, and in 2005 he took home the International Poetry Slam individual championship in Oxford, England.
Solis’ Laureate-winning poem was "Song for Solomon," a chilling poem about love, loss and restraint in the face of the terrors of tragic circumstances. A proven piece of work by a proven talent, Solis' win was quickly attacked by Alibi writer Gene Grant, who offered the truly provincial suggestion that poetry within the event should've been only about Albuquerque. It's a shame that universal themes such as the ones offered by Solis failed to cut the mustard with Grant, who dismissed "Song for Solomon" as mere sentimentality. While Grant conceded that Solis will make a fine poet laureate, he opined that poet Damien Flores may have made a better one because he wrote three poems about Albuquerque. Ultimately, the Slam Poet Laureate of Albuquerque was chosen by Slam Poets rules with judges plucked from the audience—and not by writers like Grant with axes to grind.
Grant's criticisms undermine not just Solis and the Poet Laureate process but Slam Poetry itself, suggesting that the word of judges isn’t good enough in determining who the winner should be. Grant's criticism of the event's lack of criteria towards "local poems" is also a direct assault on the people who determined the rules of the event—namely, organizer Zach Kluckman, without whom there would not have been a Slam Poet Laureate contest in the first place. Maybe next time Grant can can handpick the judges himself and whisper his criteria in their ears so that his pal Damien Flores gets the prize. For now, however, Albuquerque's Slam Poet Laureate will be Danny Solis, despite the sour grapes of writer Grant. Thanks Gene, for your faith in the process—next time we'll let you decide, promise.
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