2013 Grand Slam champion Ziggy gave a charged performance to a packed Juneau Arts and Culture Center. Give it a listen:
But tonight, Ziggy will not compete. Instead, he will be the “sacrificial poet” who is used to help the judges normalize their scoring. Ziggy and his fellow poets have been performing at monthly open mics and poetry slams throughout the year and winners from those events compete in this evening’s grand slam. Christy NaMee Eriksen helped create the arts nonprofit in 2010.
“We wanted to start Woosh Kinaadeiyí, and we didn’t have a name for it at the time, it was just Juneau Poetry Slam, just to create a safe space that was open to teach people about what spoken word is, and how it could be good for them as individuals and good for us as a community,” Eriksen says.
Among tonight’s performers is Nathan Block. He says his poetry “always starts off with some egotistical idea and then shows how we need to break those down in order to rise to the occasion of solidarity.”
After pieces by several opening performers, Block will compete against four fellow poets: David Parish, M.D. Christensen, Max Suzuki and Bill Merk. The event begins at 7 p.m. at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. There will be food, music, drinks and a cake to celebrate Woosh K’s fourth birthday.