PULLMAN, Wash. — Several dozen local poets will begin facing off in preliminary rounds of the area’s first poetry bout, Palouse Punch, 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, Wednesday, Sept. 26, and Thursday, Sept. 27, in Avery Hall’s Bundy Reading Room on the Washington State University campus.

Much like a traditional boxing match, a poetry bout pits writers against one another in head-to-head competition. But instead of throwing punches, the participants parry with words by dramatically reading their own work and composing extemporaneous verse.

The bout’s winner receives a trophy and a $500 prize, while the runner-up receives $250. A second set of preliminary rounds is scheduled for the week of Oct. 8.

The championship round will be at 6:30 p.m., Oct. 17, at Kimbrough Concert Hall. A reading by award-winning poet Victor Hernandez Cruz follows the event at 8 p.m. The championship bout will feature two finalists sparring in seven rounds. Judges will score the poets based on the poetry’s quality and originality as well as a poem’s delivery.

The Palouse Punch is the first event of its kind in the area. The World Poetry Bout Association, a community arts organization, has held several World Heavyweight Championships throughout the United States.

WSU’s Department of Comparative American Cultures is hosting the event. For more information, contact Callie Palmer, Palouse Punch contact person, at 509/335-2605.

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