Portland has a surprisingly vibrant poetry scene—surprising, I think, because it's fairly self-contained, which means unless you're involved, you might not know it's there. I have some very asshole-ish preconceived notions about poetry slams, but what I've seen in Portland has consistently been livelier and funnier than what I expected.

Check it out for yourself tonight at the Bagdad—Wordstock's festival opener is headlined by two of Portland's best. Two-time national poetry slam champ Anis Mojgani is very good at what he does, while Portland Poetry Slam founder Eirean Bradley is a much louder, cruder, and funnier presence than the term "poet" might suggest. (See "I'm auditioning to be the president of your throat," above.)

That's tonight at the Bagdad, 7 pm, $9.95, tickets here. And for more on Wordstock, our festival preview is right over here.