24 Feb

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.

Carolos Williams:

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.

Shira Erlichman:

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

Hadas Goshen:

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 Rudzinski:

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.




  1. leeraloo February 24, 2011 at 2:58 pm #

    I love this! Also, this is one of my favorite Tumblrs:

    There’s a ton to explore there.

  2. Sam February 24, 2011 at 3:44 pm #

    I love this turn that poetry is taking. I almost feel like if they were to take the ‘poetry’ label off of it all together, it could probably get pretty big. Of course, I’m kinda a reading/poetry nerd, so I’m biased

    • Lindsey.p.LaVal February 24, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

      See, I thought taking “slam” off might be cool. JUST THE LABEL, NOT THE ENERGY SO DON’T EVERYONE FREAK

      I think the political/rebellious/Vietnam draft card feel isn’t something I want. The “Slam” label, well, labels. And, I’d like to do something where I drop it.

      Like, the Chicklitz [or whoever] could each write a poem and learn how to deliver it, artfully. Perform that, and record it. We could record those poems, but, maybe not call them poems. That boxes it in too much, too.
      Maybe call them flash fictions, done audibly.

      You could put three minute videos on Youtube, then embed that into a fast moving blogging platform, like Tumblr.

      Watch a video.
      Scroll to the next.

      It’d be a great read.

      Plus, with it’d maybe be profitable. Just couple advertisements with the perks of Tumblr (easy tagging, easy searching, a whole community of rebloggers that already actively pursuing their specific topics).

      That’s something poetry—words on paper—doesn’t seem to accomplish. Why? I’m not sure, but I want to solve it.

      I don’t know, I’m just throwing out ideas. I think writers are fucking talented, that society needs that skill like NOTHING ELSE IN THE WORLD, so we should figure out a way to market that. I mean, duh. I have zero percent body fat and am not livin’ outside.

      • leeraloo February 24, 2011 at 5:15 pm #

        You know I’m all for doing videos or audio or whatever for the blog. We need to diversify!

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