Slam poetry in Iowa born 19 years ago

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In the documentary, “Louder Than a Bomb,” a poet takes the stage and says “poets, breathe now.” Though I wasn’t a poet yet when I saw the film, I held my breath and then released it with him. In that electrifying and powerful moment, I breathed life into a poem for the first time. I felt the poetry begin to pulse through me.  That’s how Heather Knowles (aka Heather K, aka Slamama) remembers feeling when she saw “SlamNation,” shortly after founding the Des Moines Poetry Slam, Iowa’s first-ever poetry slam,…

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‘Queers and Queens’ tarot deck captures LGBTQ diversity

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As a self-described “dark-haired olive-skinned, queer kid,” Aerin Black felt they stood out among friends while growing up in Washington, Iowa. As an adult, Black began to identify as nonbinary and as a witch and tarot practitioner, and stood out even more. Moving from Washington to Kalona, they still feel conspicuous, even in liberal Iowa City. Yet, they choose to stay in small-town Iowa. “I’m very much the type of person who believes that I’m where I’m supposed to be, when I’m supposed to be there,” they say. “And I’ve…

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Bayo Park Gallery introduces “Specter Scepter” tonight

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[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”section” _builder_version=”3.22″ fb_built=”1″ _i=”0″ _address=”0″][et_pb_row admin_label=”row” _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0.0″ custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Text” _builder_version=”3.27.3″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” _i=”0″ _address=”″] Bayo Park Galleries, a 10-acre outdoor sculpture park in Batavia, will introduce its new fall installation, titled “Specter Scepter,” during an open house 6-9 p.m. Oct. 12. Bayo Park will also host showings of its new installation on Oct. 13, 18 and 19 from 6 to 8 p.m. This year’s Bayo Park display is typically cryptic. The art gallery has introduced a fall…

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The marginalization of spoken word, slam poetry

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[et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ _builder_version=”3.22″ _i=”0″ _address=”0″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”3.25″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0″][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”3.25″ custom_padding=”|||” _i=”0″ _address=”0.0.0″ custom_padding__hover=”|||”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”3.27.3″ background_size=”initial” background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” hover_enabled=”0″ _i=”0″ _address=”″] Them: “So, what do you do?” Me: “I’m a poet.” Them: “Me too! What kind?” Me: “Spoken word.” Them: “Oh, cool. Like rap and stuff? I write normal poetry.” There it is. The divide. It pops up constantly in conversations, the idea of “normal” poetry (or even worse, “traditional” poetry) that actively excludes spoken word poetry. It’s a common misconception that there’s a difference between spoken…

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Full Bodied Experience taps into Fairfield’s “beatnik” vibe

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You could say that Fairfield will experience a a gentle form of Vegas touch Friday evening. Through Full-Bodied Experience, a live art/networking event, two former Las Vegas residents who now call Fairfield home will join forces with local live model artist Kesryth. While Fairfield residents and business personalities network and converse, Kesryth will complete a full oil painting portrait, “alla prima.” The term means “at once” in Italian and involves an artist applying layers of paint upon other layers not yet dried. It’s a technique used by Claude Monet, Michelangelo…

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Everyday People Say What unites artists for two shows this week

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Everyday People Say What, one of Iowa City’s most respected jazz/soul bands, will gather its largest group of collaborative musicians yet, in two shows this week. Tonight at Trumpet Blossom Cafe, EDPSW plays before Hadiza, a former Iowa Citian who now lives and tours from Kansas City. EDPSW’s two founding members, saxophonist Mary Reasoner and percussionist Adrienne L. Woodard, will be joined by outgoing bass player Ben Alston, plus six other spoken word artists, singer/songwriters, and rappers. This Saturday, the same six artists plus two more in the soul/jazz/blues realm…

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Englert/FilmScene collab builds on diversity

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The Englert Theatre was doing what it’s always done, collaborating with other community entities, when it learned a key fact about Iowa City. The “other community entity” was the university, which had conducted a demographics study. The pivotal fact was the high concentration of Sudanese residents in Iowa City: 5 percent of the population, actually. Katie Roche, Englert’s director, realized people of color generally did not feel welcome in Iowa City’s arts community. So she sought more programming relevant to Sudanese people and other people of color. She sought out…

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A self-made author shares his inner journey

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Since he released his first book, “Look Black Boy,” this spring, Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey has been the subject of many articles and interviews. Here, he shares some of his inner-most thoughts and feelings about putting himself out there. I published a book. That sentence is so much bigger than the four words that contain it. Most days I still can’t believe it. Since I was in seventh grade I knew I was meant to be a writer, but being a published author is one of those dreams–and we…

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