The 1995 Austin National Slam Team

Phil West, Mike Henry, Wammo, and Genevieve Van Cleve on the hood of their car

(l-r) Phil West, Mike Henry, Wammo, and Genevieve Van Cleve after they made the trip to and from Ann Arbor in their distinctly Texan Lincoln Town Car. The large item on the hood is Wammo's trophy for coming in second in the Individual category; the large thing on Wammo's shoulders is his head.

Austin placed 13th out of the 27 teams competing.

Team Austin on the beach

From the July 19 - 25, 1995 Austin Chronicle:

WAMMO AND AUSTIN'S SLAM TEAM will be heading for the National Poetry Slam in Ann Arbor, MI in the near future and you can catch them so they can raise road trip cash. Members of the team achieved said status by surviving countless bouts of poetic soul slams at the [Electric] Lounge and at Planet Theater and can best be described because of said survival as proud and hearty or shameless and hidebound. Intense would do the descriptive work under any conditions. Anyhow the team consists of the ones and only WAMMO and Genevieve Van Cleve and Phil West and Mike Henry. Congratulations Slammers and our best wishes go with you. Fri, July 28, 8:30pm at Electric Lounge, 304 Bowie. 476-FUSE.

1995 NATIONAL POETRY SLAM RESULTS (taken from Artswire)

Twenty-seven teams of poets from cities around the country, from San Francisco to New York (including teams from Montreal and Stockholm), competed for a $2,000 team cash prize and $500 individual prizes and trophies during the 1995 National Poetry Slam competition finals held at the Michigan Theatre in Ann Arbor earlier this month. The top two teams--Ashville, NC and Cleveland, OH--were separated by a score of 0.9 for an edge-of-your-seat finish with Ashville scoring 113.1 and Cleveland 112.2, followed by 111.8 by Boston and 108.4 by Portland, ME.

In the individual competition, Patricia Smith, 40, beat out WAMMO, 33, from Austin, Texas, by a score of 0.4; their totals were: Smith, 57.9 and WAMMO, 57.5. Runners-up were Cleveland's the Boogeyman and Washington, D.C.'s D. J. Renegade.

"For people who don't have rank behind their name, like degrees or prizes, the Slam is a venue they can compete in and be heard," said the Boogeyman. His final piece was a first-person plea from a son about to kill himself to his mother, asking forgiveness and that he be cremated. WAMMO's final poem talked about "too much light in this bar" and included the self-deprecating line, "so he comes over to the most pretentious-looking person, which is me," for an audience howl. Patricia Smith, first place winner, is a slam favorite--this is her third win in the individual competition. Her Boston team also won first place last year. "Slamming" since 1986, Smith has had her work published in literary magazines such as The Paris Review and is a columnist for the Boston Globe. An African-American poet, she won for her persona piece entitled "Skinhead," written from the perspective of a white supremacist and a poem about romance to John Coltrane.


The Austin Slam Team rocks out with Uncle Shappy & The Family Shap in Chicago!

Other memorabilia from the '95 Nationals:

Diary of the '95 Nationals by Portland Poet Carl Hanni

Wammo loves Milk and Cheese

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