Nearly 400 poets from around the country and Canada will descend on Decatur Aug. 1-6 for the 2016 National Poetry Slam (NPS) competition.

For those who’ve never attended a slam, individuals and teams of poets compete against each other in timed bouts in a series of preliminary matches and semi-final rounds until the top teams are chosen for the big final event. The poetry ranges from  personal to political, humorous to harrowing.

This year, 72 teams will be competing to take home the trophy of slam champs.

Darryl Funn, who goes by the performance name Mista Funn, has been busy for the last two years fundraising, finding sponsors and securing venues for NPS.

“I put in a bid three years ago, NPS vetted the bid, saw we had enough venues and here we are,” Funn said. “NPS has never been held in Atlanta in its 26 years. I really wanted to see the competition come here since we have such a big poetry community.”

Funn is no stranger to the NPS  having led the Java Monkey team (based out of the Decatur coffee house) since 2009. He said attending the competition in other cities gave him the understanding he needed to pull off the event in Decatur and Atlanta.

“You have to understand all the nuances, what is required and expected by the poets attending the competition,” he said.  “We’ll have the staple events like the Nerd Slam, Grief & Remembrance and Head to Head Haiku. We’re also holding some special late-nigh events such as a Burlesque Showcase and Poetry vs. Hip-Hop.”

The venues for the slam competitions include Java Monkey, Little Shop of Stories, CORE Dance Studio, Decatur Co-Work, Sycamore Place Gallery, Decatur Library, Decatur School of Ballet, Agnes Scott College, Decatur Performing Arts Center and Ebster Recreation Center. To accommodate the audience and teams, the final competition will be held at the Georgia World Congress Center in Downtown Atlanta.

For a complete schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit NPSDecatur.com. Also be sure to watch the teaser trailer for the event below.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.