Attack of the Prosers

Many people think of poets as quiet wallflowers who occasionally drum up the nerve to read their own prose on stage. Wrong! The days of poetry being seen but barely heard are over with this weekend’s Palm Beach Poetry Fest, which brings renowned writers to town for non-stop jibber-jabber during a series of readings and workshops. The list of professors, poet laureates, and all-around literary hotshots includes Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Kurt Brown, Marilyn Nelson, Thomas Lux, Campbell McGrath, Susan Mitchell, Jane Hirshfield, Tony Hoagland, Sharon Olds, and Galway Kinnell. In addition, local writer Marya Summers, the festival’s hostess, will usher in a new era of in-your-face poetry slams (She also serves as “Slammistress.”) The first rule: anything goes. Two teams can unleash anything from hip-hop to haikus on one another. The second rule: smack-talking is expected. Judges will be picked from the audience randomly to deliver a verdict of “sucks ass” or “kicks ass” for each of the six rounds of verbal battle. The festival kicks off Thursday, though ticketed events happen Friday through Sunday.
Thu., Jan. 19; Fri., Jan. 20; Sat., Jan. 21; Sun., Jan. 22
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Jake Smith