After delivering three caustic poems en route to the eighth annual Woosh Kinaadeiyí Grand Slam title, Michael Christenson was all smiles.
The night and the poetry slam season’s top poet said he was happy to win and to have heard a lot of great poems in the yearly Tournament of Champions-esque contest held Saturday night at the University of Alaska Southeast REC Center.
“It was pretty exciting,” Christenson said. “I know what I sound like, it’s really great listening to everyone else.”
Christenson read his word-dense poems from a pamphlet adorned with an anti-Trump No. 45 styled to look like a swastika and crossed out.
“How late the weasel of regret hibernates this year,” was one memorable line.
Some poets switched up their style and tone, but Christenson jack-hammered his way through manic works that sounded like a brain incensed and inflamed.
“I’m me,” Christenson said.
Morgan Blackgoat, who placed second in the grand slam, took a more scatter shot approach on her way to the final round.
Blackgoat’s poems dealt with ailing loved ones, feminine strength and a missed opportunity for intervention when someone was being mocked.
However, she could get angry, too.
Both Blackgoat’s and Christenson’s final poems wouldn’t pass George Carlin’s seven-word litmus test.
The night’s other competitors, Jasz Garrett, Melissa Bowhay and Kristin Price, all also received high scores from the contest’s judges, but some poets could not advance past the second round.
Each brought their own voices and perspectives to the proceedings. Price favored knotty, internal rhymes; Bowhay shared seemingly personal challenges in life and love; and Garrett delivered her emotional stanzas without the assistance of notes.
Audrey Kohler, Alayna Duncan, Kylynn Machir and Miriam Wagoner also performed. Kohler served as the host of the event alongside Bill Merk.
Everyone received applause or snaps when appropriate.
“There was a lot of good poetry out there,” Christenson said.
• Contact arts and culture reporter Ben Hohenstatt at 523-2243 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @capweekly.