Story last updated at 1:19 p.m. Saturday, August 31, 2002

Sophisticated slam
by Carey James
Staff Writer

photo: entertainment
  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Serge LeComte of Homer reads one of his wordly creations at the fourth annual poetry slam at Alice's Champagne Palace on Saturday night. Le Comte was one of 11 poets to compete, all of whom were judged by five audience members selected at random.  
While Homer's fourth Poetry Slam might have been more subdued than its predecessors, the night also could be said to have held more substantive verse than years past.

The poetry slam, typically a combination of performance art and rhyme, with often less emphasis on the rhyme, rose above itself Saturday night, in spite of a diminutive audience and field of poets.

The slam typically attracts a dozen or so Anchorage poets, warming up for the national poetry slam competition. This year, however, Homer's edition fell the week after the national event, making for a sparse turnout.

The Kenai contingent, however, came out in force, and landed two members in the final runoff.

Not only that, but Kenai poet Louise Heite won the competition with a series of three poems of an almost fantastical nature, focusing on nature, supernature, love and murder.

"It's the second (slam) I've competed in, and I won a prize in both," said Heite.

Heite said her less sensational style of poetry bears little resemblance to the slams she used to attend in Philadelphia, which were "much closer to smart-mouthed street poetry. I found it very off-putting."

Heite said from her limited exposure, however, the caliber of poetry in slams is refining, much to her pleasure.

"It's very gratifying," she said.

photo: entertainment
  Photo by Carey James, Homer News
Irene Saxton holds up a mediocre score for one of the contestants. Though turnout was low this year; poets from Homer and Kenai and beyond took the slam plunge, mixing performance art with poetry in one of the few truly competitive events in the art world.  
Also from Kenai, Richard King took a more humorous tack for several of his poems, focusing on fish, nature and evolution, or lack thereof.

Homer poet Serge LeComte, who moved to town several years ago, took third in the competition with several witty poems regarding delicate subjects such as erectile dysfunction, dog poop and a murderous child.

A total of 11 poets, many from Homer, took the slam plunge and brought their poems to the stage for critiquing from audience-member judges. As Barb Waters put it in her poem, "As you add my scores one by one, remember, I live in Alaska. I make my own fun."

Carey James can be reached at cjames@homernews.com

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