Slammin’ into spring

It’s been a very long winter and now it’s time to put away the long coats and the long faces, have one last, good sneeze and turn our thoughts to poetry and sunshine. April, Minnesota’s Hope-for-Spring Month, is also National Poetry Month. We’re going to celebrate with a Southwest Journal Poetry Slam.

Athletes celebrate even their smallest successes by jumping a few feet in the air and slamming into each other chest to chest. That’s NOT what we have in mind (though younger poets: feel free). This is a metaphorical slamming — more thought, more humor, less sweat. But no less fun or less of a competition.

The date: Thursday, April 17.

The time: 7 p.m.

The place: Java Jack’s, 46th & Bryant.


1. Show up about a half hour before the scheduled start time so you can register. We’ll need your name, and some way to contact you later (phone number/ email address).

2. We may have to limit the number of readers because of time constraints.

3. Bring enough poems for several rounds

4. We’ll put together a schedule and let you know when you’ll be reading.

5. Volunteer judges from the audience will rate the poems


1. Each poet is given three minutes to read his/her poem(s).

2. Judges will score the poem(s).

3. The poets with the highest scores will be asked back to read again, also with a three-minute time limit.

4. Judges scores narrow the field.

5. This goes on until we’re down to the last two readers and get a winner.


1.Winner gets a big prize and bragging rights … and can read a final poem.

2.Runners up also get prizes … and may read another poem if time permits.


Doug Wilhide is the Poet Laureate of Linden Hills, as well as the Journal Poetry editor