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Poetry Slam article- tell me what you think...

Posted to WritersAndGenres




Poetry Slam

In Chicago, Mark Smith, a carpenter, attended a poetry reading and found himself bored by it. He loved poetry, believed that it could be something more if the people were only more into it. So, in an attempt to inject some life into poetry, making it more interesting for the audience, he decided to make it a form of competition at a local Green Mill Tavern.

Based on Olympic style of judging, which is five selected judges dropping the lowest score and the highest score, Mark created what became known as Poetry Slam. The judging scale is from one, which would be a very terrible poem with a very terrible performance, to ten being a wow kind of poem with a wow kind of performance. Although desired by the audience and the judges, a performance deserving of a ten are very rare. The judges are asked to go by their gut feeling, often basing it on the reaction of the audience towards a poem. The poets are encouraged to give it their best shot, reading the best poem that they've written with the top performance that they can muster.

The movement of the poetry slams since 1987 had gone nationwide. From the Slam Central in Chicago, it became a thing to do in over thirty cities. As well as annual National Slams attended by over a hundred poets nationwide, the youths (being from 12 to 19) had gotten into the act with the Youth Slams. Out of this grass root movement, there is also poetry-video slam and festivals each year.

My personal experience with the Poetry Slam had been rich, filled with low scores and high scores. I've never won a poetry slam but I don't really care, I found it as a good way to further my own poetry and to fine tune my performance. However, I've seen some good poets get on the stage pouring their heart out, recieving low scores, then I never see them again. This is often a sad thing. So, if you're going to compete in poetry slams, go for it and don't worry too much about the scores because after awhile, you find that the scores don't really mean anything. The main purpose of poetry slam is to just have fun and enjoy the evening of poetry as it was really meant to be.