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September 20, 2000 - Image 9

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-09-20

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ARTS
*Information, poetry exchanged at Slam

The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 9

Completely what?

By Shannon O'Sullivan
Daily Arts Writer
There aren't many places you can find the jani-
tor who sweeps in Angell Hall, a professor in the
geology department and the kid who sits behind
you in Spanish class gathered together, express-

ing knowledge as;
U-Club
Poetry Slam
Michigan Union
Tomorrow at 8 p.m.

a university community.
Except, that is, Thursdays
at the Union, because the
wcekly 1-Club Poetry Slam
kicks off this week with
Word Explosion, featuring
Angie Colette Beatty and
Dee Dee White.
Before the featured poets
present their works, there is
an open-microphone event.
This event is open to anyone
who would like to get up and
express their works. Howev-
er, the Poetry Slam is limited
to the first 10 University stu-
dents, faculty or staff who
sign up. Each poet in the
must be presenting their own,

fessional, hip-hop, jazz and even Latin. The most
current tendency has been leaning toward "in
your face poetry," and more specifically, poetry
dealing with world issues, social justice and
rights.
This is not just your typical poetry reading
though. The Poetry Slam is a competition as well.
Five judges are randomly selected from the audi-
ence and they are given Olympic-style score
cards. Judges rate the poets on a 10 point scale on
the content of the poem, how it was delivered,
etc. The highest and lowest scores are dropped,
with the middle three being averaged together for
a total score.
Each night the poet with the top score will be
awarded a cash prize of S10. In addition, top
scoring poets will be asked back in March 2001
for the Grand Slam. At the Grand Slam, four top
poets will be selected, and compete for University
at the first College Unions Poetry Slam Invita-
tional in April.
After becoming inspired at a poetry slam in
Boston, Robb Thibault moved to North Dakota,
where he began a program similar to the U-Club
Poetry Slam. Thibault links the Poetry Slam in
connection with the beat poets; it is basically the
same idea, people gathering together in an
expression of knowledge that some consider aca-

demic and some don't.
The Poetry Slam also simply gets people
involved in poetry. The Union is the perfect place
to hold such an event as this, as its original pur-
pose was as a gathering place for people of mutu-
al interests.
"Estrogen Rush" is the title for this week's
Slam, featuring Angie Beatty, a.k.a. Earthshine,
and Dee Dee White, a.k.a. The Velvethammer.
Beatty is pursuing a Ph.D. in Mass Communica-
tion at the University, studying women of color in
media and hip-hop. She has an upcoming perfor-
mance at the Sisterphyre 2000 Conference in
Atlanta.
Dee Dee received a BFA in Theatre Perfor-
mance and a BA in Film and Video Studies from
the University of Michigan. She became known
as the Velvethammer, for "stamping out igno-
rance, ethnic codes of activism, manifesting revo-
lution."
October 5th, the second Slam of the season,
will enthrall onlookers, as national poetry slam
champion Reggie Gibson and the youngest of the
beat poets, Kent Foreman, are scheduled to per-
form.
If anyone is interested, Robb Thibault is calling
all hosts or co-hosts to relegate misogyny "to the
outer recesses of never should have been."

Slam competition

Courtesy of Universal
Dave Chappelie and Jim Breuer ... a winning combination. Master bakers.
They're performing tommorow night at Hill Auditorium, dude. Check out
Friday's Daily Arts for a trippin' good review of the show.

original work without any props or costumes.
All types of poetry are presented: rhyme, con-

'Plainsong' author to speak at Borders

By Lucas Millheim
For the Daily
At the heart of Kent Haruf's
novel "Plainsong" stands a number
of men, women and children, indi-
vidually but not separate. All have
been damaged by love or stunted
from lack of it;
all are lonely.
It is still
possible for
Kent people of good
Haruf will to connect
Borders in these times,'
Mr. Haruf said
Tonight at 7 p.m. from his home
in southern Illi-
nois. "We have
to find our con-
nection to other
people in unex-
pected places."
The forming
of unlikely bonds between people of
good will is the subject of "Plain-
song." Victoria Roubideaux is a
seventeen-year-old high school stu-
dent in a small Colorado town with
a big problem: She's pregnant and
very alone. Her mother has kicked
er out of the house and her
oyfriend is miles away in Denver.
Having nowhere to turn, she looks

for refuge to Maggie Jones, a
teacher at the high school.-
Tom Guthrie is another teacher at
the school in Holt. His wife is suf-
fering an unexplained psychological
crisis and spends all her time in
dark seclusion; later she leaves the
house altogether. Tom is left to raise
their two sons alone.
Balanced between Tom Guthrie
and Victoria Roubideaux and
rounding out the main phalanx of
characters are the elderly McPheron
brothers, solitary bachelor-farmers.
Early in the novel we get a sense
that the two brothers have missed
out on a portion of life. Maggie
Jones comes close to the mark when
she says to them, "You're going to
die some day without ever having
had enough trouble in your life."
It is with the simple strands of
these lives and the relationships that
develop between them that Haruf
constructs his story, and it is a testa-
ment to his skill as a storyteller that
he finds great power and beauty in
such apparent simplicity.
Several moments in the novel are
deeply moving: even more so
because laruf does not crowd the
reader with them. Rather, he pre-
sents them directly, and lets the
emotionwork on its own.
H aruf infuses "Plaiinsong \\ith
an authentic voice of the prairie.
His prose is spare and elemental,
conveying both humor and pathos
equally well. The novel is of' one
piece; a single language and senti-
iintepervade both the open ing
chapteirs and the last lines.
"Plainsongo" is a deeply moral
novel and has the power to shock
the reader with this realization. In
recent fiction, as in other areas of'
contemporary life, true morality (as
opposed to finger wagging or senti-
mentality) is a scarce commodity.
The novel has gotten a good deal
of media attention, and perhaps this
tincture of unsentimental morality
is one reason why. Typically reticent
urban book reviewers have raved
over "Plainsong;" it was a finalist
last year for the National Book
Award.
In speaking of the rural towns and
villages ini which lie was raised and
that are the subjects of his novels,
Mr. Haruf says: "It gives (one) a
sense of place. In a small town, thej

pace is slow enough, you learn to
look at things more carefully. In a
city, there's no way to know all the
different aspects of life ... (Y)ou
can get a distorted sense of humani-
ty.,
Young writer, take heed: If Kent
Haruf knows of what lie speaks, (and
this novel seems to indicate that he
does), then perhaps the location of
your yet unwritten novel should not
be Manhattan or Chicago or Menlo
Park, but rather Washtenaw County.

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