Forget what you think you know about poetry

SARANAC LAKE A performance by three poets/spoken word performers on Friday, May 4 will push and blur boundaries between music, art, theater and literature. Bluseed Studios and the Adirondack Center for Writing will present Word!, a rare night with Roger Bonair-Agard and Rachel Mckibbens of Brooklyn and Patrick Rosal of New Jersey. The trio, brought to the area by the Adirondack Center for Writing, will take the stage at 8PM on Friday, May 4 at Bluseed Studios, 24 Cedar St (next to Aubuchon Hardware) in Saranac Lake. The event is free and open to the public. In short, they are to poetry what hip hop is to music: cutting edge, full of rhythm, style and bound to smash stereotypes. A revolution is taking place at the forefront of the poetry world, with writers performing on stage in the competition format of the slam, with words being taken from the page and turned into captivating performances that leave audiences hooting, hollering, and nodding their heads. In the slam format, judges made up of random audience members score each poem; the poet with the highest score wins. The slam is now considered to be the largest audience for contemporary poetry and has been featured on HBO in Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam. For three years, the Adirondack Center for Writing has been bringing performance poets up into the Adirondacks to teach one-day workshops to high school students. The workshops focus on improving students writing and then teaching them how to present their work. On Friday, in addition to teaching the high school workshop, Bonair-Agard, McKibbens, and Rosal will take the stage at Bluseed Studios to show the public what all the buzz is about. Roger Bonair-Agard is a two-time national slam poetry champion. He has performed at venues around the world, including Alaska, Italy, Germany, South Africa, and on HBOs Def Poetry Jam. He is author of Tarnish and Masquerade (2006) and is currently staging a one-man show called masquerade: poems of calypso and home. Rachel Mckibbens has made the national poetry slam teams for six consecutive years, ranked third in the 2003 individual World Poetry Slam, and appeared on two seasons of HBOs Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam. She stars in the documentary Slam Planet: War of the Words. McKibbens is currently the SlamMaster for NYC/louderARTS and is an Urban Word mentor, teaching poetry through The Healing Arts Program at Bellevue Hospital. Patrick Rosal is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Uprock Headspin Scramble and Dive and My American Kundiman. His work has been published, performed, and/or reviewed on four continents and has been honored by the annual Allen Ginsberg Awards, the Sow's Ear Poetry Prize, and the James Hearst Poetry Prize. In addition to being featured by BBC Radio's "The World Today," WNYC Poet in Residence Bob Holman, and the Leonard Lopate Show, Rosal's work has appeared in many journals and anthologies. For more information, contact the Adirondack Center for Writing at 327-6278; www.adirondackcenterforwriting.org; or acw@paulsmiths.edu.

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