I really like slam poetry.*
*except when it sucks.
Because slam poetry really can. There’s a huge potential for that, but also it can be the shit—which is a good thing, in spite of having the word shit in it. I promise.
Slam poetry is poetry, duh, but it’s performed. It’s a structure that I really like, and I’m going to demonstrate WHY in 5 videos, 3 minutes each. That’s 15 minutes. Ready? LAUNCH.
First up is Carlos Williams, member of Emerson’s slam poetry team: The Gringo Choir.
His hand motions/ diction/ dynamics—when he switches into that drunk voice at at 1:46 then interrupts it with the narrator’s and I thought, shit!, that gets to me in a way that it wouldn’t if I were just reading. That Catholicism is falling short for this narrator, I see that. I can literally see that.
This is Shira Erlichman, and I chose this poem, SIX TIPS ON HOW TO BE A STRAIGHT GIRL, because it has a similar form, but approaches it satirically.
This one obviously has a social progression kind of stance, and that’s fine. Read: that’s hard to do in a way that will make people want to listen. She does it though, with her use of humor. Humor in poetry, how great. There is no hair in wine.
Shira also does music, has books, is doing other great things. She’s a BAMF, check out her website IT’S BEAUTIFUL.
Slam poetry can be narrative/ historical! This is Hadas Goshen! About Mary Shelley
She gives me shivers when she breathes. Also I’m a sap for stories about stories, and I think a lot of other readers are saps for that, too, because we want to share the reading experience. I mean, that’s why you comment right? don’t lie.
Here’s a two person poem. I think they need more variety in their dynamics, but I still cried/it is effective.
Joseph Romero & Damien Flores
I like the idea of two people performing one poem, that they acknowledge that there are two narrators is HUGE. That isn’t another person adding vocal range. This poem characterizes two narrators simultaneously, compares and contrasts and wraps both of their stories into this hearbreaking beauty. YOU GUYS, It takes a solid artform to hold that up I mean YES YES YES. Also, that slam poetry is a haven for voices that go unheard everywhere else, well, that’s a thing.
Lastly, this is Carrie Rudzinski, who I have been creeping for a few years now, because she’s the imagery babe. Her metaphors will break you.
Carrie is touring the Midwest right now, so you can go see her perform if you want! We’re going, when she’s in Indy. Check out the dates of her tour. Also, she has a cd. A CD! We could make a cd and that’d be way cool, I think. YES.
Thanks to Youtube, SLAM POETRY isn’t the ephemeral artform it used to be. We have video cameras. We can post on facebook/Twitter/Tumblr. The Internet will help us remember! Also, if you like any of the poets, check out their related videos on youtube. Creep away. That’s what the Internet is for.
**Coincidentally, one of my favorite blogs Autostraddle is doing poetry week and had THIS to say about slam poetry.