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7/28/2010 7:03:11 PM
Okay, so I am seeing a lot of controversy on the idea of slam poetry as well as many different contests that want a "Slam poetry style" only. There seems to be a serious misunderstanding about what slam poetry is and what all it envelops and I would like to correct those (politely) who seem to have the wrong view on the subject and also correct those who are promoting their contests incorrectly.
First, lets start with the definition. Slam poetry is a style that is meant to be performed. It can be very difficult to understand the rhythms or meanings in the poem just by trying to read it. It isn't like many other genres of poetry where there is a certain style of beat it is read in. To make an analogy, it would be like trying to read the lyrics to a rap song without ever hearing it and know exactly how it is supposed to be said...it doesn't work! In order to relate it to this site, you would probably call it a free verse. Don't get me wrong, Slam poems can be written in specific styles, limerick, ode, sonnet, ect...but it is not seen very often.
One of the misconceptions of this style is that it is meant to be hateful, degrading, and meant to "Slam" a person or subject in some way. This is completely untrue. Just like with any genre, the attitude is dictated by the writer/performer. That's like saying all rock songs are about money, fame, and drugs, it just flat out isn't true. Period. But what it does, many times, take on controversial topics. I have seen these poems done on everything from abortion, A.D.D., and politics...but it also can take on other topics such as love, or a first kiss. Yes, these poems can sometimes be hurtful but that can also be sweet, and in either case, they are meaningful all the same.
Now that the last part has been said, PLEASE to all those people who created contests wanting "Slam" as part of the criteria...take that off of there. How can you say that when the style is specifically (and also the only RULE is that it's) mean to be performed??? These are not video contests, otherwise I might understand. And even if you do have these contests, how can you properly judge and decide the winner when you haven't HEARD it??? That's like reading the lyrics to a song and deciding if you like the instrumental. Moreover, how are you to judge if it's a slam poem when it could be in the form of any other TRADITIONAL style? It could be written as a mono-rhyme and could STILL be correct.
To reiterate my point about everything...I posted a you tube link to the best Slam Poet I have ever hear in my life. This one starts of funny, but moves into a personal love connection. It doesn't SLAM a person but talks about life like many other poems. And to those that are having the Slam contests, tell me...could you do his poem justice by reading it off of your computer????
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