Writer’s Workshop

Kima Hamilton

·  Chairman of Multicultural Think Tank at Anchorage Urban League's/ Young Professionals

·  co-owner/operator at Southernaire Arts and Entertainment

·  Performance/Slam Poet at Alaska Poetry League

Valdez Schedule

March 27 8am - noon Valdez High School

March 27 Noon - 5 pm PWSCC Lisa Sparrell's writing classes

March 27 7-9:30 pm Landing Lights Writer’s Workshop Introduction

March 28 10am – 2:30pm Writers Workshop/Poetry Slam PWSCC Lounge area

March 28 7-9:30 PM Landing Lights Poetry Slam

Hamilton is one of the state's leading innovators in Alaska's slam poetry scene. Alaska was one of the first states in the nation to cultivate a venue for slam poetry but over time the state's geographic location and lack of funding slowed the scene's momentum, said Hamilton. He and two other former team members are working hard to reignite minds and encourage fellowship between artists in Anchorage and around the state. Their hope is that by gaining community support and fundraising they will be able to send an Alaska team to the National Poetry Slam in 2008. “I dee-jay to support my writing habit,” said Hamilton, whose work schedule allows him to conduct workshops for the Anchorage School District and other writing groups. Hamilton's performances and workshops are 75 percent volunteer work, and while there is no paycheck, the obvious reward is the strength and growth of the movement, which he has nourished with his own love and passion for the art of the spoken word.

Alaska’s poet for poets, Kima Hamilton, of Anchorage, The best definition of a slam, according to Hamilton, is anything written on a blank piece of paper. And it’s not written for literary experts to dissect, or for English majors to critique. The best judges are construction workers, nurses and baristas, who judge the poet on their delivery, and how it makes them feel —not so much on the speaker’s adherence to grammar rules. “It’s WWF wrestling poetry,” Hamilton said, “… where the audience plays a part into it.” Hamilton sees slam as a movement that’s finally becoming validated in literary circles and institutions around the state as it flourishes. Alaska’s relationship with slam poetry performance was consummated when the third poetry slam in the world happened in Anchorage in the 1980s. After a hiatus in the early part of the next decade, it re-appeared several years later, according to Poetry Slam, Inc., when Alaska started sending teams to national competition. Hamilton has been a member of two of those teams. National Poetry Slam started as a five-day festival of 75 teams of poets in 1990. That remains the case today.  Hamilton is a two-time member of Alaska’s National Poetry Slam Team. He also uses his talents in the school districts of Anchorage, poetry workshops as well as residential treatment programs around the country. Hamilton has said he began to use writing as a coping tool while growing up in the vastly different communities between Philadelphia and Georgia. Once a rapper, he evolved into a slam poet in college, identifying that slam is the performance of poetry in a monologue before an audience. Slam style is really in place due to humans’ short attention span — without the scores, it’s a dramatic recital where you build a relationship with the poets as the night goes on, and you can’t leave until you’ve seen the end of it, Hamilton said. It might sound like a pretty competitive scene, and it is. But his advice to keep it light, keep it fun. The advice for judges is to score the performer on a balance of what they’re hearing and seeing and feeling; how the whole package is delivered using the immediate reaction. For new poets, Hamilton recommends taking a light approach. “You give the audience too much power if you get caught up in the competition,” Hamilton said. “Have fun.”