The National Poetry Slam, August 8 through 12, is a gathering of the greatest slam poets from across the country. After being selected to become an anchor city — meaning it will host the event every five years — NPS is coming to Denver. The week long event features a championship event, a poetry summer camp and a traveling exhibition. It’s the biggest team performance poetry event in the world — and it’s something you’ll want to take the chance to check out while it’s here. While you can’t go wrong with any of these performances, we’ve put together a list of teams you won’t want to miss. We included some of their past performances, too — so prepare to feel some things and get ready for the expressive, political and emotional beauty NPS will bless our city with. Find more info about general scheduling and prices here. Find a detailed performance schedule here.
Denver Mercury Slam
Performance times: Wednesday, August 9 at 7 p.m. at McNichols 3rd Floor (144 W. Colfax Ave., Denver) and Thursday, August 10 at 9 p.m. at Clocktower Cabaret (1601 Arapahoe St., Denver)
Why you shouldn’t miss them: While the event is in Denver, it’s still crazy exciting to see our own on a national stage — especially when they kick ass. Be sure to check out the Denver Mercury Slam team, hailing from our own Mercury Cafe. The team won the national championship back in 2006 and has made the semi-finals multiple times since. Catch one of their performances and see if this year is when they’ll jump back to the top spot.
Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Performance times: Tuesday, August 8 at 9 p.m. at McNichols 2nd Floor (144 W. Colfax Ave., Denver) and Thursday, August 10 at 7 p.m. (also at McNichols 2nd Floor)
Why you shouldn’t miss them: This team has history deep within them. The cafe (of the same name) that they’re based in is where the first ever poetry slam occurred in New York City in 1989. The team changes each year but the poets are always notable and the Nuyorican name remains world famous.
San Diego PoetrySLAM
Performance times: Tuesday, August 8 at 7 p.m. at Coffee at The Point (710 E. 26th Ave., Denver) and Wednesday, August 9 at 9 p.m. at Clocktower Cabaret
Why you shouldn’t miss them: The San Diego team has recently been moving up in the national scene. They’ve placed in the top five of NPS twice since 2013, last year ranking second. Returning with the same coach this year, the acclaimed Rudy Francisco, it will be exciting to see how they follow up their runner-up position.
Performance times: Wednesday, August 9 at 7 p.m. at Clocktower Cabaret and Thurs., August 10 at 9 p.m. at Clocktower Cabaret
Why you shouldn’t miss them: With the powerful piece above, ABQ Slams won the group piece finals at last year’s NPS. The team, like many other slam teams, is also very community based and works with Albuquerque public schools, Albuquerque correctional system and the University of New Mexico. Get chills from the video above and wait to see how they follow up on their big win.
Brooklyn Poetry Slam
Performance times: Wednesday, August 9 at 7 p.m. at Clocktower Cabaret and Thursday, August 10 at 9 p.m. at McNichols 3rd Floor
Why you shouldn’t miss them: Another New York based team will be bringing the heat to Denver. The team is based out of BRIC, an arts and culture nonprofit in Brooklyn. After ranking fifth last year, we’re looking forward to seeing what they’ll bring to Denver.
Performance times: Tuesday, August 8 at 7 p.m. at McNichols 3rd Floor and Wednesday, August 9 at 9 p.m. at Clocktower Cabaret
Why you shouldn’t miss them: Of course we have to end with another hometown hero: Slam Nuba. The 10-year-old Denver based team has made it to finals stage at NPS three times — and won in 2011. They’ve also participated in TedTalks and have had many of their members maintain national ranks. Take a look at one of their pieces that hits close to home (no pun intended) and be sure to catch them on the national stage.