This is the first event that I’m covering and I had the privilege of attending a poetry slam at the Green Mill in Uptown, a Northside neighborhood in Chicago. Now this isn’t your typical slam. Of course there were contestants, judges, and an audience but this competition offered so much more. The atmosphere was so lively, from the upbeat artists to the interactive audience. The host, and owner of the club, Marc Smith, narrates while a live band plays smooth jazz like melodies. It’s obvious that he regularly does his little skit because the entire audience joins along reciting word for word (imagine my embarassment looking like the obvious newbie in the crowd).
The judges of the slam are randomly chosen from the audience and are instructed to scribble their scores down on a napkin, provided by Marc of course. There are three contestants and the two with the highest scores compete in the second round for the win. No poem can be over three minutes and the poet with the best material for the night walks away with a prize of $10….no I didn’t make a mistake, ten dollars is the cash prize for the slam, in addition to a couple laughs and a good time .The Green Mill is a place with a great atmosphere that welcomes locals to share their poetic talents, and has been doing so for 15 years.
Every sunday a slam is held with the same prize, same great host, and probably the same audience. So if you’re ever in Uptown and feel the need to poetically express yourself you should stop by the Green Mill. They hold Open Mic at 7 p.m., there’s a guest appearance at 8 p.m., and the slam starts at 9 p.m. This week they are having a poet from St. Louis, and they said it was going to be a big show….It’s worth stopping by, I had a great time while I was there and I’m sure you will too.