The Pittsfield Word x Word Festival is a carnival of words in written, sung, and spoken form, both planned and improvised. Williams’ own prodigy of extempore, Seth Brown ’01, was the event’s Poetry Slam champion, so crowned on August 28 and reported in Berkshire Living. Wish I’d been there.

The week-long Word X Word Festival came to a rousing conclusion on Saturday night with the crowning of Seth Brown as the poetry-slam champion at Shawn’s Barber Shop, followed by a music-and-spoken word show featuring 2004 National Poetry Slam Champion Rives at the Colonial Theatre to bring the curtain down on the festivities.

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It came as little surprise that Seth Brown won the Poetry Slam competition – anyone who has seen him recite, improvise, and freestyle before around town knows that he is a charming, funny and fleet linguist. He has the expressive face of a comic and poems – such as one about being a lover of books – that are tailor-made for a slam audience, and he has mastered the art of leaving space in some of his work for in-the-moment improvisation, including incorporating lines and references from other poets that have performed only minutes earlier. Brown is one to watch; he’s the Berkshires’ most likely to succeed in this exciting art form.

I haven’t seen Seth poetry slam since he improvised a rhyming slam of Pat Buchanan when he publicly debated at Williams in 2002. I have seen him shine in a comedy night in a Pittsfield bar, the last time I had the pleasure of being his guest. We share a board game hobby that I look forward to indulging again in an upcoming overnight.

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