Thursday, June 18, 2009

Slam on Indefinite Hiatus - A Note from Featured Poet Natalie Ilum

Split This Rock received the following letter yesterday from 2010 featured poet Natalie Illum. Please read.

Hello Friends,

I'd like you to take a look at the community announcement below. As many of you know, I've been attending the Baltimore slams this summer and having an amazing time. The folks who organize SLAMicide are not a only welcoming and talented group, they care about artistic development, empowerment, fun and community in a way I haven't seen.

Although I am relatively new to the slam scene, I could tell they were a family and fiercely talented to boot at the 2008 National Team Semi Finals, where they placed 6th. I wanted to be a part of that. It took me almost a year to be brave enough to try, and now it's fading.

As a long time community organizer of Mothertongue, I know how hard it is to stay afloat and find a home in venues that support and value creativity, poetry and community. Thankfully, the Black Cat hasn't given up on MT, but we have struggled with schedules, numbers, audiences, volunteers, etc. I don't even want to think about how much of my personal $ I donated over the last decade to keep something I was passionate about alive. I knew the second I gave up, people would miss what Mothertongue provides. I fear the same will happen with SLAMicide.

I have not spoken to the organizers about their intentions. But, I know the decision to put the series on hold was a hard one. I'm not even an official member of the 2010 team, because the season hasn't started yet. I know that the venue issues caused Baltimore not to be able to send a team to the finals in August 2009.

I know I will miss the opportunity to strengthen my slam voice and my ties to this community. I know there is a quality difference to this team that I want to be a part of, and/or help them share their words. I believe the Slamicide community still has a lot to say. I certainly will have trouble finding a slam home that has their level of compassion and creativity. But, that is a personal struggle.

SO, I am asking you as community organizers and friends to throw your support behind them. At the very least, let's show up to this weekend's last slam and give them a sendoff to remember. And, come watch me compete for IWPS through tears ...

Show up if you ever wanted to see me slam with Baltimore, because we may not get another chance! As my beloved Joni says, don't it always seem to go, you don't know what you've got til its gone.

Lastly, I'd like to help them recoup some $$ loses. So, if you can, please donate any amount to the paypal link on their website, [or email granmadave {at}]. Ironically, I have just finished a grant which ear marked $500 towards Slamicide expenses, which I will donate if I receive the grant, but that may not happen at all, or come too late to help the team compete.

If you can think of any other means of help, please [comment with contact info to be put in touch with Natalie or SLAMicide].

It's not too late. And by helping them, you help me stay present and focused on my purpose and the good in this life.

Thank you.
and salt,


A Note from Split This Rock: SLAMicide is a vital resource for poetic voices in the area. Please help support this great organization. Image credit:

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