Dec 13th, 2010 Lowertown Reading Jam: Matthew Rucker presents “The Best Slam Poetry in the World”

Matthew Rucker

The Saint Paul Almanac continues its year-round literary celebration of Minnesota’s capital city with the acclaimed Lowertown Reading Jams. The December presentation of the eclectic series, curated by Matthew Rucker, will be presented on Monday, December 13, 2010 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Black Dog Café, 308 Prince Street in Saint Paul. The Jams will continue on the second Monday of each month through July 2011.

Hear the best in spoken word by members of the Saint Paul Soap Boxing Slam team — two time winners of the National Poetry Slam (“the Olympics of Slam Poetry”). Award-winning members of the team invited to participate include:

Shane Hawley a spoken word artist who dabbles in hip-hop and stand-up comedy. He is a four-time member of the Minneapolis National Poetry Slam team, and a former Minneapolis Grand Slam champion. Hawley has opened for such national acts as P.O.S, Dessa, and Jeremy Messersmith. Hawley’s “Wile-E” killed in the semifinals of the National Poetry Slam at Fitzgerald Theater on August 6, 2010 (see below, some strong language), scoring a perfect 10.0. 

Khary Jackson, (aka ‘6 is 9’) is a playwright, teaching artist and poet. He has represented Saint Paul on national and international stages numerous times over the last four years, winning two national titles with the Saint Paul Slam team, and third- and fourth-place wins at the 2009 and 2010 Individual World Poetry Slam championships (IWPS). Jackson says, “I’m proud of the poetry the Twin Cities is consistently producing. I hope to remain a part of the scene in various ways in the future.”

Kyle ‘Guante’ Myhre has been the Grand Slam Champ of Saint Paul, Minneapolis and Madison, Wisconsin, and was part of the 2009 and 2010 National Poetry Slam champion Saint Paul team. As a rapper, he’s a member of the Tru Ruts crew and has shared the stage with Talib Kweli, Sage Francis, Brother Ali, Zion I and many others. Guante is currently serving as arts coordinator of the Canvas, a Saint Paul teen arts center, and continues to lead workshops through the MN Spoken-Word Association. For more info, visit his website.

Sam Cook

Sam Cook was born in Moscow to communists, and was raised in Boulder, Colorado among the white and privileged. Sam has yet to decide where he will die, but hopes to do it among poets. Since leaving home he has spent his allotted years of “youth” practicing Buddhism, sitting in Sweat Lodges, making wine, riding bikes through the mountains, playing folk guitar with an ear for mediocrity, serving strangers food, writing and reading poems, moving and repairing mobile homes, camping, overcoming insomnia, fighting the man and perhaps most importantly, enjoying the sunshine.

Neil Hilborn is a senior at Macalester College and is co-chair of the Macalester Poetry Slam. Originally from Houston, Texas, he began performing slam poetry two years ago. In 2010 he was a member of Macalester’s collegiate nationals team, which is currently ranked third in the nation; at collegiate nationals Neil was given the Best Persona Poem award for his piece “Carver.”

About the Lowertown Reading Jams

The Almanac has been hosting the monthly Lowertown Reading Jams since October 2009, and they have been steadily gaining in popularity as excited audiences spread the word about their powerful, shared experiences. The Jams provide an opportunity to explore and bridge the cultural and social breadth of the city of Saint Paul throughout the year. Each Jam is produced and hosted by a well-known writer or spoken word artist. Saint Paul “performance drawing” artist Lara Hanson interprets the readings using Japanese ink brushes. All Reading Jams are American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted.

The entire 2010-2011 season of Lowertown Reading Jams will be presented at the Black Dog Café, a popular Saint Paul venue for spoken word artists, and a co-sponsor of the series. The Black Dog Café offers its “Monday Madness” special featuring a large pizza and bottle of wine or a large pizza and four Summit beer taps for just $20.

The Jams are curated by the following creative writers and agents for social change:

Oct. 11, 2010 – Deborah Torraine
Nov. 8, 2010 – Tish Jones
Dec. 13, 2010 – Matthew Rucker
Jan. 10, 2011 – May Lee-Yang
Feb. 14, 2011 – Tou SaiKo Lee
Mar. 14, 2011 – Carol Connolly
Apr. 11, 2011 – Marcie Rendon
May 9, 2011 – Desdamona
June 13, 2011 – Melvin Giles
July 11, 2011 – Diego Vázquez, Jr.

About the Saint Paul Almanac

Recently released in its fifth edition, the Saint Paul Almanac features essays, poems, photos, maps, and listings of events, bars, restaurant, theaters, and other cultural venues within a datebook format. The 2011 Almanac features 129 works by 118 writers. These writers include literary giants, everyday residents, students, journalists, new Americans, and lovers of Saint Paul who live in other corners of the world. Writers interested in having their work considered for the 2012 Almanac have until March 1, 2011 to make a submission. Information on upcoming events, how to make a submission, and other Saint Paul Almanac news is available at

The 2011 Saint Paul Almanac sells for $11.95 online at, and is available in independent and mainstream bookstores everywhere, as well as at libraries and coffee houses throughout the City.

Saint Paul Almanac activities are made possible, in part, by funds provided by the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council from an appropriation by the Minnesota Legislature. Sponsors and partner organizations include the Black Dog Café and Wine Bar, the City of Saint Paul and Saint Paul STAR Program, Clouds in Water Zen Center, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, KFAI Radio, The Lowertown Future Fund of the Saint Paul Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, Saint Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN), Travelers Arts & Diversity Grant, and Twin Cities Daily Planet.

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