For me, poetry has been a dead subject. I never got over teachers telling me about iambic pentameter. When I studied writing, the instructor turned to the section on poetry, looked at us, and asked, “Poetry. Any questions? No? Let’s move on to article writing.”
Along came slam poetry, half poetry and half dramatization. I loved it, ham actor that I am. It seems to me that there is more life in slam poetry.
The poetry slam was invented by Marc Smith, a construction worker in Chicago in 1984. He was frustrated by snooty, elitist poets who appeared to have no interest in connecting with a live audience, and decided to stage a poetry reading in which the audience would have a way of giving the poets direct feedback – through scores.
Marc Smith says: “The very word ‘poetry’ repels people. Why is that? Because of what schools have done to it. The slam gives it back to the people…. We need people to talk poetry to each other. That’s how we communicate our values, our hearts, the things that we’ve learned that make us who we are.”
Learn about slam poetry. Go to an event in a coffee house. Check it out on
YouTube and/or Google it.
Are you a slam poetry fan? Or a fan of traditional poetry? For you, which brings poetry alive?
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