New Jersey Stage

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Loser Slam wraps iPoet 2011 with workshop, performance on June 11

(LONG BRANCH, NJ) -- Every Thursday night, tucked away in a corner of the oldest, most venerated, crazy beautiful coffeehouse on the entire New Jersey Shore, the revolution comes equipped with rules of etiquette. In the city that gave the world Mailer, Parker and Poet Laureate Pinsky, the future sometimes speaks with a floorboard creak or an attic draft — and in this arena of competition, it's the "Loser" that walks away victorious. To put it another way, "we heart irony."

When the event known as iPoet wraps its season of performance poetry showcases at the Long Branch Free Public Library, it will join forces in a special presentation with Loser Slam, the performance poetry cooperative whose weekly workshops, tournaments and Open Mic events at The Inkwell have kept the city's literary tradition alive and thriving in a fast-changing landscape. On the afternoon of Saturday, June 11, the library building at 328 Broadway will play host to the fourth and final edition of iPoet 2011, an expanded session that kicks off with a workshop for aspiring poets.

Whether you're a published poet or are just beginning to find your voice, you're invited to bring examples of your writing to the workshop portion of the program, scheduled to run from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. inside the library's Community Room. Registration is open to all ages, and topics touch upon all aspects of the creative process — from composing an effective poem, to delivering a compelling spoken word performance. Following a break for conversation and complimentary refreshments, the iPoet program resumes at 2:00 p.m. with an opportunity for workshop participants to share their words in performance.

Conducting the workshop and hosting the performance program will be Nicole Homer, a writer, storyteller, educator and charter member of the Loser Slam group who has competed nationally as a finalist in such major competitions as the Individual World Poetry Slam and Women of the World Poetry Slam. Nicole — whose most recent published volume Not a Muse: The Inner Lives of Women, is available from New Haven Press — will be joined by some of her Loser Slam poetic partners in a showcase of their original work.

Sponsored by the Long Branch Arts Council, the Long Branch Free Public Library and the Long Branch Historical Association (supported by Investors Savings Bank Charitable Foundation, Monmouth County Arts Council and the City of Long Branch), the iPoet series represents the next generation of a medium that's powered not by the latest in personal tech gadgetry, but by the power of words. It's a series that spotlights the words of area students, grades six through college — many of them sharing their poetry for the first time in public — alongside published professionals, veteran amateurs, notable "guest readers" and anyone who wishes to take part in a "family friendly" forum.

In a statement on their website loserslam.com, the poets declare that "poetry should be available to everyone" — and that "when presented in an engaging and lively fashion, everyone is at heart a lover of words." The Loser Slam founders, who recently started a new series of 7:30 p.m. teen poet workshops on the third Thursday of each month (scheduled next for June 16 at the Inkwell), will also be starring in a special Evening with Loser Slam at Asbury Park's Showroom on Friday, July 3.

There's still time for poets of all ages to register for the June 11 workshop. To obtain a sign-up form or find out more about iPoet, contact Kate Angelo, director of Outreach and Adult Programming at Long Branch Free Public Library, at kangelo@lmxac.org. Admission to iPoet is free of charge, with participants invited to bring family and friends.

The Long Branch Arts Council is a partnership dedicated to working with the city government, civic and business organizations and the arts community to re-establish the City of Long Branch as a thriving regional center for the arts. Our aim is to accomplish this goal by attracting artists and arts organizations, by coordinating fundraising and development efforts, by establishing arts education programs, and by presenting arts-oriented events that draw upon the natural resources, accessibility, historic assets and "people power" that are unique to our beloved city.