We are now officially in the Summer of Nitty Gritty! At the Grand Slam on May 19 we found out who will be competing at the National Poetry Slam in Oakland this coming August as Amani, Daniel Summerhill, Elizag, and Poetic Visionz came out on top at NGS 94. These dynamic poets will be very busy this summer with events and fundraisers to get ready for the trip to the west coast.

It is never too early to start thinking about how you can help Team Nitty Gritty get to Oakland. If you would like to donate to the team to help cover travel costs, please click “Donate” on the top of the page. We will have more information on fund raising events and more ways to get involved in the coming weeks.

On Tuesday, June 2, we return with a very special featured poet, Janae Johnson, to kick off our summer schedule poetry and spoken word at The Low Beat.

Janae Johnson is a spoken word poet, teaching artist, educator, and organizer originally from Sacramento, California. She placed 1st at the 2015 Women of the World Poetry Slam and serves as a founder/slammaster at The House Slam poetry venue in Boston, MA.

Janae’s work is primarily centered on her love, her sexuality and her blackness. She is the coach and advisor for the Simmons College Speaks Poetry Slam Team and is committed to creating safe artistic spaces for queer people of color. Janae also appreciates black musicals, Stevie Wonder songs and pineapple-based smoothies. She currently resides in Roxbury, MA.

If you’re not into competing in the slam, but want to get on stage and share your work, we have an open mic hosted by Kevin Peterson before the slam. Sign up begins at 7:00pm, open mic starts at 7:30, and then Thom Francis starts the slam at 8:00pm. Admission is $5.00 ($3.00 with student ID). This is an 18+ show.

If you can’t make it out to the show that night, be sure to follow along on Twitter! We will be live tweeting pictures and results all night at @NittyGrittySlam and #NGS95.

Albany Poets, Urban Guerilla Theatre, and The Frequency North Reading Series have brought slam back to Albany with the Nitty Gritty Slam at The Low Beat (335 Central Ave.) on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday’s of each month.

For information on the rules and format of the Nitty Gritty Slam and to meet the team, go to http://nittygrittyslam.com.