Jasper Smith (at microphone) was named 2018 champion of the All-Maricopa Poetry Slam at Honeycutt Coffee.


What do Willy Wonka, anglerfish, Filipino Christmas and a sexy cup o’ Joe have in common?

They were all the subjects of poems at the Maricopa Arts Council’s (MAC) third All-Maricopa Poetry Slam at Honeycutt Coffee on Saturday. Eight poets performed in three rounds to an audience of roughly 40 listeners who clapped, snapped, cheered and laughed their way through the evening.

First place went to Jasper Smith and second to Tristan Marshall, who both advance to the All-Arizona Poetry Slam scheduled for Feb. 2 at a yet-to-be-determined location in Maricopa.

As a gorgeous southwest sunset bled over the horizon, Slam Master Bernard “The Klute” Schober and Bout Manager Jess Ballantyne ran through the rules of the competition with poets outside before the event. No props, nudity or musical accompaniment were allowed. Swearing was allowed, as were adult themes.

Ballantyne provided the evening’s first calibration poem, performed before the competition to help prepare judges. The event’s featured artist was Kristal Melody Hoeh, who drew a colorful desert landscape in chalk behind the performers.

“Poetry slams began in coffee houses,” said Judith Lang Zaimont, co-founder and co-director of MAC. “People need to see the human experience come forward through the individual viewpoints of creative people.”

Zaimont also gave special thanks to Honeycutt Coffee owner Warren Grier for donating the space for the evening’s event.

“I think the quality of poets tonight was national caliber,” Schober said after the event. “I’m really excited about the next All-Arizona Poetry Slam, because not only are we going see the talent that was here tonight ­­­— the top two — we’re also going to see poets from around the state, many who have competed in national poetry slams before.”

The judges and audience react to a poet’s performance. Photo by Jeff Kronenfeld
The performing poets at the third All-Maricopa Poetry Slam. Photo by Jeff Kronenfeld



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