Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWps) 2012 Quantifying Poetry
Dominique Ashaheed ended this years competition with the words “we will remain unapologetically black,” it was a poem about teaching her son about the struggles of being black male in a post Emmett Till America. Even with a time penalty she won this years competition and as you can see from the info graphic below the final 4 were only Separated by .6 of a point. It was a spine bending four day competition in Denver,CO.
WOWps 2012 Final Round
WOWps is an all-woman PSI event created by women for women poetry slam competitors. In it’s fifth year of celebrating women’s voices it was wonderful to see a sold out finals at the Denver Art Museum. This a is step forward for women and the literary world, however many people still ask “how does one quantify poetry?” The answer is “You don’t!.” Among PSI members the saying goes “the point is not the points the point is the poetry.”
Below are the rankings and scores of the 2012 WOWps competition you will see that many slam veterans have inexplicably low scores in their bouts. Rachel McGibbens and Gypsy Yo retired from slam during the last prelim bout at the Mercury Café. Both essentially forfeited the competition by giving speeches, before reading well past their time limit. Both stepped off stage to standing ovations, hugs, tears and the support of friends who were competing against them. That is the true spirit of the WOWps competition, its not about the scores, its about women supporting and accepting other women. If you still need to quantify poetry there are some infographics below. If you love awesome poetry tune in to my next In These Streets Podcast for clips and commentary from my WOWps 2012 experience.
PRELIMINARY ROUND RANKS
NOTE: How WOWps scores and ranks are calculated:
In every round five random judges are selected from the audience (yes random they could be drunk or have never even heard poetry) to judge poems on a scale from 0.0 and 10.0, the high and low scores are dropped. During preliminary rounds poets choose their order randomly for the first rotation of each bout. The second rotation is based on the scores from the first rotation with the top score going first in the second rotation and the lowest score going last. The first round rotations consist of a 4 minute poem first and then a 1 minute poem. The second round rotations on the next day are 2 minute poems first and then 3 minute poems in the second rotation. Thus each contestant will have a total of 4 scores for the preliminary rounds. Poets will be ranked by their performance after each rotation, thus they will have four ranks and four sets of points. All points and ranks are added together for a total rank and total score. The top 12 poets with the lowest ranks and the highest cumulative scores will advance to the final round on Saturday. The 13th poet will be asked to be the calibration poet for Finals. The poets will draw for their first rotation of Finals randomly.