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Night Howl
By Karen Reardanz

[whitespace] Dragon's Breath
Robert Scheer

Got the Word by the Tale: Julia Ann Delbridge slams strong into SC's Dragon's Breath Poetry.

Year of the Dragon:
Rapid-fire Dragon's Breath Poetry slams into a new year, along with a new slamming granny

S ANTA CRUZ AUDIENCES ARE NO STRANGERS to the poetry slam phenomenon, having listened to the staccato verses since the local chapter of the National Poetry Slam set up shop nearly two years ago. Dragon's Breath Poetry, as it's called, is spearheaded by Julia Ann Delbridge, a fine slammer in her own right. In the short time Dragon's Breath has been together, it has been the local literary scene's foremost (and most consistent) introduction to the world of strong-armed lyrical poetry.

Delbridge has brought some of the National Poetry Slam network's favorite performance poets, like Edwin Torres and Clebo Rainey, to Santa Cruz from spots as diverse as the Ozark Mountains and Finland. They've appeared in coffeehouses and clubs, Kuumbwa and the beach, reaching and appealing to audiences as diverse as the people who slam.

But Delbridge has been on a sabbatical of sorts (mostly from the slamming world, not from real life), during which other nonesoteric power-poet events have sprung up. The most notable addition is Parmalee Paula Cover and her Slam Granny events. Sixtysomething poetry powerhouse Cover was on last year's National Slam Team. She's as energetic as the Energizer bunny and has big dreams--she's aiming to develop a Santa Cruz slam team that will go to the top.

Delbridge sees Parmalee Cover adding a determined element of excitement to the slam events and believes she's really beneficial to the slamming community.

So for now Julia Ann Delbridge is looking forward to the dawn of spring, when she and her Dragon's Breath Poetry clan will poke their sleepy heads out once again and start up their seasonal Full Moon Poetry Beach Bonfires, held monthly at Twin Lakes Beach at sunset.

These events are noncompetitive, which Delbridge considers a plus. "You get some really strong performances at the bonfires," she says. "Competing with traffic and the waves, people have to be really expressive. They're a nice change for people who don't like the competitive angle [of poetry slams]." She's considering also adding poetry workshops and more noncompetitive gatherings to the mix.

Until beach weather comes around again, Delbridge and all the fire-breathing poetry slammers can be found at the Slam Granny events, tentatively planned for Friday nights at the Washrock in downtown Santa Cruz.

For more info on Dragon's Breath or how to get involved in slamming itself, check out the www.sixgallery.com/ontheroad/Santacruz.html or home.pacbell.net/slamgr/SantaCruz.html Web sites.


Ariel performs at the United Nations Association meeting in the Double Rainbow Cafe on Saturday. ... Poets, musicians and artists gather at What Is Art? for Animal Farm on Saturday and Sunday. ... The SC Dance Gallery hosts a tribute to Paul Robeson with L. Martina Young and Maude Meehan, among others, on Feb. 7. ... New Music Works performs Night of the Living Composers on Feb. 8 at UCSC.

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From the January 29-February 4, 1998 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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