Bernard Schober

Slam Master Bernard Schober, aka “The Klute,” will be the host of the 2019 All-Maricopa Poetry Slam Championship.

MARICOPA — The Maricopa Arts Council will amp up its fourth annual spoken word performance event by offering cash prizes to three winners of its 2019 All-Maricopa Poetry Slam Championship.

Taking place on Saturday at Honeycutt Coffee, the city championship event will be a vigorous three-round elimination contest for poets of high-school age and up.

Poetry slams are artistic competitions for the performance of original poetry in which poets perform their own work in front of the audience without the props of music or scenery.

This Saturday’s Poetry Slam contest will be a 14-person Western “duel” in the art of performing one’s own original poems, staged in a series of high-energy, three-minute, one-person plays. All poets receive three minutes per round to entertain and inspire the audience with their creativity, vying for votes and prizes.

Five judges are selected from the audience with each judge awarding a score to each poet. Slams are judged over 3 elimination rounds similar to the Olympics. The judges’ joint decision is final.

Doors for the event will open at 5:15 p.m. for audience members to mingle and purchase refreshments prior to the contest, beginning promptly at 6:30 pm. The Honeycutt Coffee Cafe is planning a special event menu and owner Tanya Powers said she wishes all the poets a “slammin’ great time.”

Only the first 14 poets who show up to the door before will have the chance to perform. Three elimination rounds of performances will whittle this group down from 14 poets to nine, and then to the final five. The top three poets will receive cash prizes ranging from $50-150 with the top two performers earning a spot to perform in Maricopa’s All-Arizona Poetry Slam Championship on Jan. 25. The third-place poet will perform at the all-state event as a “calibration poet,” who begins the slam to warm up the judges to scoring and who provides calibration of relative scores in between official rounds.

MAC’s Slam Master for the evening is nationally-known poet Bernard Schober, who writes and performs as The Klute. A many-times veteran of the annual National Slam Contest and author of 12 books, he is well-known as an active shark conservationist, and for his fiery, gripping performances of his own poetry.

The Maricopa Slam Championship event is preceded by Art on the Spot, which is also a MAC Slams tradition, with Maricopa artist Kristal Hoey creating new work on-site from 5:15-6:15 p.m. A suggested $5 cash donation will be collected at the door.

Interested? See more at the event Facebook page: 2019 All Arizona Poetry Slam. See more on this and other upcoming Maricopa Arts Council events at the Maricopa Arts Council Facebook page.