The best poetry slams I ever went to were run by Crazy Elf. He'd encourage people to insult poets, say things like 'love the poet, hate the poem', and usually end the shows with him getting pelted by a Ninja (who shall here be referred to as The Ninja, because, well, she is). It was just so validating as a poet to be insulted - at most other poetry events I had known to then, the typical response people gave to poems was 'interesting' and 'meaningful'. And besides, I figured, if a roomful of drunk people who were predisposed to say you sucked could be won over, you wouldn't be doing too badly.
But I've been to a few other poetry slams, and heard of even more. There've been slams in town halls, and slams in libraries, and 'exhibition slams', and slams for school students, and sort-of slam events like the various Poetry Idol competitions that they run each year. Slam, slam, slam, all over the country. Which is kind of why I was pleased to see this on Wikipedia the other day:
...I hated it. And it made me really uncomfortable and... it was very much like a sporting event, and I was interested in poetry in large part because it was like the antithesis of sports.... [I]t seemed to me like a very macho, masculine form of poetry and not at all what I was interested in.
So I went to the slam poetry page on Wikipedia, and found another bunch of critics, and then I went to slam founder Marc Smith's page, and saw that even he had been critical of slams, as they have become. I also found this quote:
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.
And that's just it, isn't it? Poetry slams have gone from being a reaction against poetry taught in schools, and a reaction against the establishment, to something that happens in schools, and something funded by, and endorsed by, the establishment. Oh, I value the people that I've met at slams all right, and have enjoyed most of the ones I've been to - but the transition of slam poetry from being a fresh and exciting movement to something less than that has been quite rapid, really.
I'd still go to Elf's slams, though.
Tim, your links stink, you fink!
- John Bangsund's Threepenny Planet
- Broken Biro
- Poetry 24
- Superlative scribbles
- Kirstyn McD!
- Rorrim a tsomla almost a mirror
- More Sterne
- Cam the man from the Dan.
- Too hot to Raaaaaaandallllllll!
- Erin's Excellently Everlasting Effervescements!
- Slammy Infamy
- Hail Paco!
- Baron Blandwagon, purveyor of cyberbunnies, hawker of Roger Corman, and Misruler of the Multiverse
- The Bolta. Aiyeeeeee!!!!!
- Bad Apple Audrey
- The cartoon church
- Sir Martinkus
- A Zemblanian abroad and at home
- A hodge podge of hotzeplotz
- THE SLAMMA!
- Jottlesby's nottings, or should that be Nottlesby's jottings?
- The Snarking of the Hunt
- Jazzy Hands
- David of Metal City
- David the Barista
- The Blogger on the Cast Iron Balcony
- Be an Opinion Dominion Minion!
- ... and Fel
- His brilliant career - from whale sushi to crumbed prawn
- Jo Blogs
- Yet another Tim
- Was two peas, now three peas
- ... Still Life - now with extra rotating cats!
- An Amazingly Awesome Australian Ampersand!
- Blink and you'll miss 'er
- Red in the land of the tigers!
- Wire of Vibe
- Chase him, ladies, he's in the cavalry!
- The Non-palindromical Editrix in Germanium
- Old Sterne
- The briefs...
- ... and the brieflets
- The Purple Blog
- Blairville, lair of all that is wicked and perfidious
- The enticingly acronymical CSH
- EXTREEEEEEEME WYNTER!
- Mark of California
- Silent Speaking
- Lexicon the Mexican
- ► 2015 (94)
- ► 2014 (135)
- ► 2013 (173)
- ► 2012 (275)
- Thought for the day
- Language is a funny old thing
- A handy definition for a very common occurence
- The propriety of impropriety
- Culture for a Saturday morning
- A list of holes
- We need more doors
- Yoof-um-ism song
- On a certain splurg
- Yeah, that thing
- An ode to Newtown
- Terrifying true tales of encounters with wildlife
- The conclusion I have drawn from the long weekend
- On the pleasures and dangers of naked bike riding
- Answers for aspiring concert pianists
- Book suggestion
- Pink psychological horror
- Musical notations for life
- Too late to be too late
- And so, with a self-satisfied smirk, the poet lays...
- Loudspeaker loudspeaker loudspeaker man
- Grumps, waffles, farts, snorts, and harrumphs: ass...
- ▼ June (23)
- ► 2010 (288)
- ► 2009 (290)
- ► 2008 (316)
- ► 2007 (392)
- ► 2006 (373)
- ► 2005 (287)