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Thursday
Dec012011

Amsterdam, Ep. 2

December 1, 2011 — With winter's onset trinkling down in rainstorm-form, inside SMART Project Space it was a brilliantly cozy, Versal-presented evening, as gobs of onlookiers witnessed Jane Lewty snare victory from the jaws of victory, out-spelling her formidable counterpart Anna Arov in a Literary Spelling Bee finale that saw Lewty win by a closer-than-it-appears 17-8 margin that won her the Literary Death Match crown. 

But before the first complicated-to-spell author's name was on display, the night kicked off with Lewty (author of the upcoming Bravura Cool, chosen by Fanny Howe) up against Mina Witteman (author of De Zielensluiper). Witteman led off, a shining story in a derelict setting, about two characters desperately trying to save their souls while oodling over a corpse. Next up was Lewty, who reeled off an ode to John Wayne Gasey, the 33-time murderer. 

With the audience in silent euphoria, the mic was handed over to the trio of all-star judges including comedian/actor/writer Rob AndristPlourde of Boom Chicago, writer/poet/professional emcee Prue Duggan (of The Open Stanza fame), and philosopher/poet Matthijs Ponte (of the renowned Perdu and VersSpreken). Ponte responded with stream of conscious equations that would make Virginia Woolf howl and Stephen Hawking gulp, and AndristPlourde responded by expressing his anxieties about mice — as he was reminded of a mouse he once had to kill by Witteman's tale. The judges then huddled, and after a difficult deliberation, they narrowly selected Lewty to advance as the night's first finalist. 

After a booze-fueled intermission, Round 2 commenced, as Versal editor Megan M. Garr introduced the night's second two readers: poet Anna Arov, and transatlantic prose artist Philibert Schogt (author of Dear Traveller). Arov was first, reading a sequence of poems, the highlight being the poem to her husband, who she admitted she was mad at. Then it was Schogt's turn to wow, as he read about a recluse math geek who pleased his partner (in more ways than one) while solving his equations in his head.

The mic again was handed to the judges, with Duggan admitting Schogt's story had "a well calculated climax," and Ponte again delivered more stream of conscious formulas of his own. AndristPlourde's humor-laden responses all filled the theatre with laughs. And when it was time to vote? Again, the choice was impossible, but it was Arov who was the night's second finalist. 

For the finale, LDM creator Todd Zuniga stepped forward for the Arov v. Lewty Literary Spelling Bee, with Lewty charging out to an early lead (she nailed Theroux, but Arov faltered on Thoreau). But it was Lewty's strategic passing on Houellebecq and then spelling Euginedes that gave her the insurmountable lead. Arov's attempt at Solzhenitsyn fell short and Lewty was crowned Literary Death Match Amsterdam champion, and literary immortality is all hers. 

Follow LDM on Twitter and/or Facebook now! 

 

 

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