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#dplwrites for National Poetry Month

Starting the first day of April, writers and readers all over the country will be celebrating National Poetry Month. Whether it’s attending organized poetry readings, donating books to academic institutions and after-school programs, or, a DPL favorite, participating in the 30 for 30 writing series, NPM is a chance for everyone to appreciate poetry and mark its importance in our culture and lives.

NPM was first organized back in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets to increase poetry awareness nationwide. It was inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), and has become a popular choice for publishers to publish poetry books as well as for teachers and librarians to utilize poetry in their classes.

One way in which people celebrate NPM is by participating in the 30 for 30 writing series. The 30/30 challenge is to write one poem a day for the entire month, and has become a popular way for writers to share their work with others on social media. Some have even continued past day 30 to write a poem each day until to the following April. Yes, our own staff member, Donny Jackson, wrote 365 poems because he is that insane and dope. If you see him, ask him about the release of his next book, because we all are waiting and wanting to read it.

If you are participating in the 30/30, we at Da Poetry Lounge would love to share your work. Use the hashtag #dplwrites at the end of your Instagram or Twitter post and it’ll grace the front page of our website.

2016 Semis #2

OOOOOF! We thought last week’s first semi bout was fire – this was just as amazing! The six competing poets included two poets new to slam and four veterans: Alyesha, Shyla, Rudy, Saint, Myron, and Tevin. And all gave amazing performances.

The DPL audience was familiar with the work these poets put up on stage due to watching them in the past qualifiers, and before that, on the open mic. Still, the audience was eager to see the group pieces. The group pieces are always a highlight of any DPL adult slam event. These pieces are special because the semifinalists are randomly paired with one another for the writing and performing of the piece.

There was much anxiety in the air, as the poets did their best to take the stage and come correct and prepared. Regardless, all the poets gave it their all. The judges handed out a few 10s throughout the night. There was some yelling of chuuch praises – yes, CHUUCH not church. Before a poet was about to spit, some people were shouting OOOF! and DONT BE NICE! Well, actually not some people, just our staffer, Edwin. He was shouting it out, channeling the audience’s energy and handing it to the poet about to go in!

After a tense but amazing bout, Alyesha, Shyla, and Saint moved on to the finals. Rudy, who qualified by taking third, decided to not continue in the competition.

And that’s how it goes down – Alyesha, Shyla, and Saint join Kito Fortune, Aman, and Yesika as finalists. They slam on April 19th for the five coveted spots on the DPL Slam team that will compete in Decatur, GA at the 2016 National Poetry Slam.

DPL Finals will be a ticketed event and ALWAYS sells out, so get ready and stay tune!

We Kickoff Semis 2016

It was such a dope, DOPE night – then again, isn’t every night at DPL? Yesterday was the first of two semifinal bouts to make it to finals and eventually, the five coveted spots on the DPL slam team that will compete at the National Poetry Slam in Decatur, GA in August. The poets who competed last night were Aman, Yesika, Portia, Kito, Bird, and Danielle. These poets qualified in either of the prior six qualifying bouts and each gave all of themselves on the Greenway stage to be one of the top 3 that go on to finals (along with the top 3 from the next week’s semi).

What makes DPL slams exciting is the random pair-up of two qualified poets to write and perform a group piece for the second round of competition. To our knowledge, this is not being done anywhere else. 

Poets usually have about a month to work on their group poems and perform them as a cohesive unit. Not only was it exciting to see their individual poems shine, but is was incredibly dope to see poets with different writing styles come together and perform their shared piece. 

After three rounds, the poets that advanced to Finals were: Yesika, Kito, and Aman. Congratulations, and good luck going forward!

And as a special treat last night, our host Shihan brought all the poets on stage after the competition and forced them to do a cypher… which was HIGHLY entertaining. 

And always remember that for slam, the points are not the point – the poetry is. Those who did not advance are necessary and loved voices.