Bryan Medina has collected the sign-up slips from every Inner Ear Poetry event he's hosted over the past dozen years. There are hundreds of the white slips.
The Inner Ear, which combined with the Beat Down Poetry Slam three years ago, has featured close to 1,000 first-time and veteran poets over the years, including Fresno poet laureate James Tyner.
The fact that the event has thrived for so long is important, says Medina, who founded Inner Ear and serves as its current co-host.
The poetry slam, which pits poets in head-to-head readings, has given out close to $5,000 in prizes.
"There is value in the words spoken at our shows," he says.
Medina was recently given a Horizon Award by the Fresno Arts Council for his contribution to the area's cultural scene.
Inner Ear celebrates its anniversary with Synergy, an all-star poet-party Saturday night at the Holiday Inn Skyroom — an event that is less about competition than collaboration.
Medina has put together four two-poet teams that will present a sort of tag-team poem.
"There will be a little bit of extra polish for the anniversary show," says Shane "Scurvy" Spears, a performance artist and Inner Ear co-host. "These shows can correct the misconception people have about poetry," he says.
Guests for the night will include Los Angeles poet Simply Kat and the band Jazz 2 Soul.
Synergy, the Inner Ear Poetry Jam 12-year anniversary party featuring Simply Kat and musical guests Jazz 2 Soul, 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Holiday Inn Skyroom, 1055 Van Ness Ave. Tickets are $10 at the door. Search Inner Ear on Facebook.