Greetings unto all the poets and supporters of poetry in the Kingdom of Atlantia.
Since 2008, there has been held at Atlantia’s Kingdom Arts and Science Festival an event known as the Duke Gyrth Oldcastle Memorial Smackdown . While its format has variced, it has ever been an occasion for Atlantia’s poets to gather together and share words; some in praise, some in ridicule, and some just for the sake of sharing.
The Smackdown serves as an opportunity for poets of all experience levels to come and display their wordsmithing prowess in front of others in the spirit of good fun. It is not a contest, though some years each entrant has been given a token to give to their favorite entry. The Smackdown is run by the performing arts community with a volunteer in charge of running it.
The Smackdown is named for the legendary Duke Gyrth Oldcastle, who was a master of wordplay and enjoyed composing in many diverse and different poetic forms. But most of all, he reveled in creating poetry and seeing new poets grow in their art.
Entrants are asked to write the poems beforehand and to either show up at KASF to read their poems, or to send them along with someone to read, or to send them to the moderator of that year’s Smackdown, who will arrange to have them read.
Each year we hope to attract many poets to the contest, both veteran and new ones. The entry requirements change from year to year, but may include any of the following components. Here is what any aspiring poet may be asked to write to enter:
- Entry Fee Poem: In honor of a great person and poet (Duke Gyrth Oldcastle) entrants must write a poem based on the “requirements” of that year’s Smackdown as their ticket “in”. It could be praising Gyrth, or someone in their lives, or a specific form.
- “Main Event” or Themed Poem: This is a poem along the lines of whatever is the theme of the Smackdown that year.
- A Smackdown Poem: This would be a poem, in any period style that “smacks down” the year’s chosen “target” – it could be a specific person, a specific medieval character, a period archetype/profession or a SCAdian archetype/profession. This is determined by the moderator of that year’s Smackdown.