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5 Staten Island poets to represent at national slam competition

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STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — They came, they slammed, they conquered.

Five poets who have been meeting monthly for the Advanced Open Mic slam poetry gatherings will be representing Staten Island's very first team at the National Poetry Slam in Georgia this summer.

Last Friday, Staten Island held its first-ever poetry slam finals, with the eight people with the highest qualifying points totals from previous Advanced competitions being invited to compete.

Slam poems mixed song, storytelling, theater, humor and classic poetry, and covered a wide variety of subjects, from civic pride to recovery from addiction.

Finalists from the months of competition include: Nick Yuk, Eric Alter, Thomas Fucaloro, Jessica "Morningstar" Kratz and Julie Bentsen.

The competitions usually take place on the third Friday of the month at the Richmond Hood Company clothing store on 827 Castleton Ave. in West Brighton.

While the nights include a non-competitive open mic, it also brings famous featured poets from around the country.

Following the feature, the Poetry Slam competition starts. Eight poets have a chance to compete against each other to earn points towards qualifying for the finals.

Though its roots go back to 1984, the monthly poetry slams began on Staten Island on 2015, after the borough's literary magazine NYSAI approached Tariq Zaid, the co-founder of Richmond Hood Company to see if he would be willing to host a series.

After a year of monthly competitions, Staten Island now has its first slam team.

In order to raise funds towards registration, lodging, transportation, and other competition expenses, the team will be announcing a crowdfunding campaign in the upcoming weeks.


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