When I made the decision to uproot my life, move to Manhattan, and pay an exorbitant amount of rent to live an apartment building that's likely infested with rats, it was primarily to gain access to better pizza places. And lo, what marvelous pizza there is here! Joe's Pizza, Prince Street Pizza, Artichoke Pizza... what else could one need?
According to some of the people that I've met here, however, New York also has something called "culture" that one can partake in whilst between slices. While I was skeptical, I did some research and found out that New York does indeed have a vibrant poetry scene, with places like Nuyorican Poets Cafe that have been around for decades. I decided to dive right in and attend one of their Friday Night Poetry Slam events.
Not having been to something like this before, I didn't really know what to expect, but I ended up having a wonderful time. The host had a sharp sense of humor and made sure to let everyone in attendance know that it was acceptable - and even expected - for audience members to react with finger snaps, whistles, and audible "wows." Each of the performers were talented and passionate, imbuing their stories with a real sense of physicality and intensity. One person even sustained a complex rhyme scheme over the course of a couple of minutes, which reminded me of one of those ridiculous Consequence verses built around just a handful of words that manage to work somehow. Impressive stuff.