Strike a Prose

If you think poets are a bunch of lit geeks, old geezers, and pathetic whiners with floppy emo haircuts that endlessly quote downers like Poe and Dickinson, then get your presumptuous booty to the Fourth Annual Treetop Poetry Festival, opening with a competition at MADCAP Theaters.

The two-day bout is like a giant cage match, but with competitors spitting out rhymes instead of teeth. Six teams from across the Southwest will perform original poetry for points towards this year’s National Poetry Slam in Saint Paul, Minnesota (and bragging rights in the tight-knit poetry community).

If you’ve never been to a slam, there are a few simple rules: be quiet during the performances, clap afterwards, and feel free to boo and hiss if the judges give bad scores. “It’s a participatory event. You don’t sit on your hands,” says Ed Mabrey of Black Pearl Poetry, the Phoenix-based organization hosting this year’s festival. “Boo. Shout. Don’t worry about scaring the poets.”

The fest moves to Fair Trade Café, 1020 North First Avenue, on Friday, February 5, where peeps from nationally recognized poetry outlets such as HBO’s Def Comedy Jam will, once again, be tearing up the mic starting at 7:30.

Thu., Feb. 4, 7:30 p.m., 2010