By Leslie D. Rose
For Baton Rouge’s Eclectic Truth representative poet Desiree Dallagiacomo, three is more than a charm, it’s a trophy – actually it’s three trophies.
On March 19 Dallagiacomo began preliminary competition alongside 71 other femme poets at Poetry Slam, Inc.’s Women of the World Poetry Slam in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Advancing to finals, it wasn’t long before she was holding on to the third place ranking, tied with Albuquerque poet Mercedes Holtry.
“Everybody at WOWps was like, ‘we are ready to hear you and hold you,’” Dallagiacomo said.
Excited to advance throughout the three rounds of finals, Dallagiacomo admits it was the first round that was most important to her, noting that she just wanted to do a poem and everything else felt secondary to that.
“I’m just kind of thinking about the top four, really top three because we tied for third,” Dallagiacomo said. “It was really great to be onstage with them – the camaraderie backstage – we were all in the wings, and it was exciting – it felt like a team of 12 women, like we were sending each other up onstage. Janae Johnson, who won was the most seasoned one back there and she was very intentional about fostering the really strong culture of sisterhood and camaraderie.”
It’s a camaraderie that Dallagiacomo knows well from being so close to her poetry, speaking to her audiences with full disclosure.
“This is my friend, poetry,” Dallagiacomo said. “Our relationship has its ups and downs, and sometimes we are at odds with each other – she’s pretty erratic and high strung, and she is often trying to prove herself. She is loud and vulnerable. She is always trying to rewrite her own story, and she really enjoys making people feel something.”
Judging by her success, she’s got that making-people-feel thing down.
But as connected as she is to poetry, it’s hard to figure out when Dallagiacomo has time to write. The Chico, Calif. native has been writing since early girlhood. Once only combating the noise of five siblings, she now attends UNO where she studies creative writing/women & gender, works as a personal assistant/nanny for a family in New Orleans and performs and teaches at colleges and universities around the country.
“I travel a bunch for performances and workshops – it feels like I hardly have time to sit down anymore,” she said.
Quite the busy lady, but as apparent by her slam success, nothing hinders the time she spends, pen in notebook.
Once a resident of Baton Rouge, Dallagiacomo will move back to the Red Stick this summer to resume work with young poets, coaching the Baton Rouge youth poetry slam team in preparation for the Brave New Voices youth poetry slam festival, held this year in Atlanta.
Individually Dallagiacomo will also find time to perform and/or teach workshops at Southern Oregon and Colorado State universities as well as other area showcases and gigs that yield from her slam successes and viral internet stardom by way of sites like EverydayFeminism, Upworthy, YouTube and her extremely popular Tumblr account, PoemsbyDes.
“I like to believe that all of my writing has a little magic in it, and when it doesn’t then that’s usually when I stop performing them,” Dallagiacomo said.
Likely she won’t lose the magic any time soon, nor has she any plans to stop its cultivation.
“I think WOWps nurtures the women in our community and offers a space of celebration and camaraderie that doesn’t always exist in local scenes or other national events,” she said. “Without it, we would not have the women slam figureheads we have now. It is important for women because it helps the storytellers of our tribes cultivate our voices – we get to go to WOWPS and tell our stories and hear other stories, and then we can come back into our communities and be better at what we do.”