At 37, Bao Phi is already an elder statesman in the Twin Cities spoken-word poetry scene. He helped jump-start the whole thing back in the 1990s, winning every slam award possible, eventually making it onto Russell Simmons' "Def Poetry." He must be feeling young again after the release of last year's "Song I Sing," his first book of poetry. The collection of hard-hitting pieces -- centered on Asian-American life -- reads like a greatest hits album transcribed for the page. The poems speak loud and proud -- like a classic Bao Phi performance.

Runner-up: Guante