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The Voice of the Black Community

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Respect for the mic
Poets go for grand slam in Charlotte
Published Wednesday, July 25, 2012 8:17 pm
by Ryanne Persinger

Six years ago, when Angelo Geter performed poetry for the first time, he was nervous and read from the paper.

Angelo Geter will perform at the National Poetry Slam Aug. 7-11 at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center.

Afterward, he felt alive.

“I was absolutely terrified my first time,” Geter, known as Eye-am-bic, said. “But it was amazing after I did it.”

Geter, who is 25 and lives in Rock Hill, still gets nervous when he performs, but he turns that energy into ammunition.

“If I don’t get nervous I believe something is not going to go right,” Geter said. “I use the nerves now as energy for how I perform to make it something greater.”
Geter, along with a team of four other poets from Respect Da Mic Slam team, will compete in the National Poetry Slam in Charlotte Aug. 7-11 at the Blumenthal Performing Arts theaters. The team joins approximately 1,000 participants from across the country.

“The National Poetry Slam is all about who is the best,” Geter said. “Hopefully we’ll bring the win back to Charlotte.”

The event is unique in bringing people of diverse backgrounds together both in attendance and in competition.

“There’s just so many different types of voices and things to talk about,” said Geter, whose been writing poetry since middle school. “Every city has its climate of poetry in a sense. When you go to a National Poetry Slam it definitely opens you up to different cultures and ethnicities as well.”

Local poets are hoping it brings more attention to the city’s SlamCharlotte and Respect Da Mic organizations.

How does the National Poetry Slam work?

Participants compete over three days of preliminaries, with 20 teams advancing to the semi-finals on Aug. 10. On Aug. 11, the top four teams will go against each other on the final stage to determine a winner. Geter says there is a time limit of roughly three minutes.

Needless to say, he is excited about the event.

“I think people will be amazed and greatly inspired by everything they’re going to hear,” he said. “It’s so many different types of poems and people. There will be something everybody can relate to. Come out and see for yourself.”

Geter, a 2008 graduate of Winthrop University with a degree in political science, says he’s learned a lot from the local talent in the area.
He credits veteran poets like Boris “Bluz” Rogers, who is the slam master and coach of SlamCharlotte, Charles Perry Jr., known as C.P. Maze from the SlamCharlotte slam team, and Tavis Brunson for their advice and encouragement.

When Geter first started writing he says he wrote a lot about Black Power, now his poetry is based more on how he feels and of what he sees.

“I’m decent, but I still have a ways to go,” Geter said. “I like the openness of expression and putting your thoughts, words and emotions out there. It’s a release for me.”

An all access pass for the event is $75. Individual tickets are $5 for day events, $7 for late night events and preliminary bouts, $10 for group-piece semi-finals, and $25 for finals.

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