Author Topic: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam  (Read 31744 times)

Evan

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When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« on: August 30, 2007, 01:28:00 AM »
this is what happens when you stay up too late. crazy question pop into your head....either that or poems.

ok, so when did you 'fall in love' with spoken word/slam?

for me, it was the love of poetry first....listening to my mother playing the 'records' of Nikki Giovanni and the Last Poets on Saturday mornings. i didnt 'fall in love' with spoken word/slam until NPS 04 invaded St. Louis....i got to see, meet and hear the poets i watched on Def Poetry and other dope poets. so many different styles of poetry, so many topics, spoken with such passion.....i was hooked!

Even though there is a lot of negativity surrounding NPS 04, it were i 'fell in love' with spoken word/slam....
one world + one race = onelove

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Steve

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2007, 06:07:27 AM »
Evan,  I think some of us who have been around for a long time need to reflect on all the positive Slam does in the world more than think of the "negativity" of any event. I think it is noble (and I know that is a powerful word) that even when it stumbles, slam still has such profound impact on a poet's soul. For our community to continue to focus on the negativity of any event does the concept of Poetry Slam and the organization of Poetry Slam, Inc. a profound disservice.

I first met slam in Ann Arbor in November of 1988. Watched once and slammed the next time. I have been hopelessly addicted ever since. And while I no longer play in the Slams, I love watching the conversion of others who do. I too came to poetry first and slam second, but for me it was such a natural marriage. And here I am 19 years later...still here and still in love.

Scott Woods

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2007, 08:51:45 AM »
I got involved with Slam by being invited to a very bad college slam.
I knew there had to be other, better ones.  So I investigated them and started one from scratch at my night.  The love was instant: the audience dug it, the poets really tried to bring something out of themselves, and it was pretty much on from there.  By the time I got to my first non-Columbus slam, I was already into it.

jesster

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2007, 09:30:55 AM »
Around 2003, I started watching Def Poetry on HBO.  I liked several of the poets, disliked quite a few others.  At the time, I was teaching an experimental improv class and wanted to try musical improv, but couldn't find someone to accompany us.  Then I saw a group called Floetry, where one woman harmonized while the other spoke.  Then it all clicked and I started working on The Hook, which combines a capella music, improv, and poetry.  It was magic

After having some success teaching and performing this, I decided I needed to try and immerse myself in written slam poetry to see what else I could do with this.  I started performing at Cup of Joe in Salt Lake City in Late 2006/Early 2007 expecting to be booed off stage for what I was doing and instead was embraced whole heartedly by the community.

So there's my love origins for the improvised and written aspects.

-Jesster

Delrica

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2007, 10:14:50 AM »
Mannnnnnnnnnnnn...

Eff Spoken Word...AND Slam!

I hate both those hoes! You spend all that time and money on their asses, trying to finesse the situation and get them all in the mood...

And then they don't put out!

Damn gold diggers...

 8)
*The views expressed by Delrica are not that of PSi nor the Executive Council. Her gems are her own...deal with it*

Gabrielle

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2007, 02:17:49 PM »
The first time I went to a slam I was living in Boston with my folks to get enough money to move to Seattle. I saw the Cantab listed and checked it out. This chick named Patricia Smith was featuring with Cleveland's Black Poetic Society.. my jaw hit the floor. I had no idea until that night you could get a hundred plus people on their feet shaking their fist and screaming with just. words (unless you're, you know, JFK or MLK something.)

I wanted to be her. I was hooked.

Now I'm basically the ultimate fan, saving others' performances for the legions to watch. :)

puroshaggy

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2007, 02:24:36 PM »
I fell in love with Slam at my first one, in San Antonio, the first PuroSlam ever...I still love PuroSlam, and I love certain slams, but I can't say I honestly love Spoken word.....I get bored easily and there's too much out there that is Paint By Numbers poetry...saw a lot of it at Nats this year......and very few poets really take chances, in my opinion.....But a good slam, where there's heckling and hooting and hollering and Honest Reaction...I love that!!!!..and there just isn't enough of that in the scene....

So all you touring poets out there...Come to San Anto!!!!!

shaggy
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bobdapoet

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2007, 02:37:44 PM »
Oh, that's an easy one, Spring 1994. I was looking for a reading, an open mic, and attended several that were busts. A friend, Andrew Berger of Funky Clown Town Fame, suggested a slam at a jazz bar called The Orbit, hosted by Sarge Linticum and Mary McCann. I went once and was literally scared to death, even in watching...

Kept going back, and finally read at one, totally sucked but didn't care...

It was mostly Mary, she had a poem about riding her Harley that is genuine poetry first, but she immersed herself in it as she read it, like she was pulling back all the sounds, sensations and sights from the ride that inspired the poem. It is very genuine, very self-exposing.

linzm

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2007, 03:16:51 PM »
Denver, Mercury Cafe, my senior year of high school.  Blair was the feature the first night I went, and I was hooked from the start.  The little voice in my head went, "Hey, I can do that!"  When I moved to Tucson, it occurred to me that living without slam was not really an option, and I needed to get one started for the sake of my own sanity.  I was lucky enough to fall in with other people who felt the same.

Evan

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2007, 11:37:49 AM »
Quote
For our community to continue to focus on the negativity of any event does the concept of Poetry Slam and the organization of Poetry Slam, Inc. a profound disservice.

Preach on Preacha...Preach on!!

Thanks for sharing your stories. sometimes its good to remember when the seed was planted!

Steve, all i can say to you....is WOW! 1988 and you are still involved....one day i would really like to pick your brain about this thing we call SLAM!
one world + one race = onelove

That Picture Poet

Steve

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2007, 04:33:50 PM »
Well, just come on over on my porch some day and we can yell at the kids on my lawn together!

dbodinem

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2007, 04:56:13 PM »
Kind of a long story:

I fell in love with poetry in 1984-85, started writing, reading it.

Started reading in 1985-86 at a place in Denver called Muddy's Java Cafe, it was mostly a bunch of poets reading their work around a table, but occasionally some would perform more (I tried to read clearly but didn't really perform) then went to college and started reading at a place called Penny Lane in Boulder, CO (1987-88).  Still pretty much reading, though I do remember a reading by Peter Michaelson that I really enjoyed and a Spoken Word performance by the 7UP guy ("Crisp and Clean and no caffeine.." at school that blew me away.

Got away from readings, wrote some very bad novels, worked shitty jobs until 1997.  In 1997, basically got divorced, hated my job and started going to a weekly reading and was hooked by watching Bob Wilson, Danny Solis, Matthew John Conley, Lisa Gill, and Kenn Rodriguez.  Started my own reading in 1999 and started having some success in slam in 2001, but ultimately became a slam junkie in 2002 when I finally made the team and started hosting my own slam.


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Bob Whoopeecat Stephenson

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2007, 07:50:01 PM »
I started writing more poetry in 1985 when I couldn't take my horn on the road with me while opening restaurants.  Seems guys in the La Quinta Inns didn't like staying up till all hours listening to me doing jazz progressions and improving to Gillespie/Bird tapes.  1997 found me trying to read with poets at Barnes & Noble.  My girlfriend at the time, "if it's going to be this boring, I may have to stay home next time".  I found Clebo Rainy hosting a poetry slam at a club in Deep Ellum called the "Red Room".  I was home.  I started reading a little that year, progressed through the next few, got hooked for good after my first experience watching Jason Carney, GNO and Jason Edwards do the "Super Heroes" poem in 1998/99.  8 years since-running slams with Rock Baby, starting a new slam in Dallas.....and now were coming back home to Deep Ellum in September, getting to work with great people on the National level so that this art form can keep evolving.  I'm digging the fact that I made the choice to go to Deep Ellum for a more exciting form of poetry because I didn't want my future wife to "stay home next time".       
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andre michael bolten

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2007, 05:57:02 AM »
I started writing poetry aged 14 and definitely fell in love with spoken word eight years later, at my first reading, I did with two poet friends of mine in 1978. During the break a young girl came up to me and asked, if she could handcopy one of the poems, I had read during the first set. While looking for the page, I asked her, why she wants to copy it. She held her breath for a second and said "I want to give it to my parents to read it." And as it was a poem about the authoritarian power, parents perform on their children, simply because they are the parents, I was knocked out and blown away. Aged 22 it felt pretty good to realize that my words can be an axe.

It did not take long, until I realized that all my poems are written to be recited. But back then there weren't that many chances, opportunities and venues to do so, in Germany. I worked with musicians, dancers, pantomime, painters, sculpturers and performance artists. So I already had my share and paid my dues when I witnessed my first poetry slam. Miguel Algarin and Bob Holman had invited me to take part in the Deutsch Nuyorican Poetry Festival on Manhattan Island, in November 1995. And before the first poet was done, I knew I would start a slam, when back home again. Because of my love for spoken word, to offer a platform to those, who care about how to "read" their stuff in front of audiences and to have some fun myself. So in September 1996, I became slammaster and mc of one of the first regular poetry slams in Germany.


andré

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suziqsmith

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2007, 08:46:26 PM »

Started reading in 1985-86 at a place in Denver called Muddy's Java Cafe

I used to LOVE Muddy's - its walls witnessed much of my teen angst . . .

And as for my love story with poetry - I'm pretty sure we were betrothed before I was born.  My great-grandfather was a poet, my bedtime stories were often Langston Hughes or Edna St. Vincent Millay, and my aunts recite Paul Laurence Dunbar poems at family reunions. 

I started reading out at a coffeehouse called The Black Pearl in 1994/1995.  The first time I went, people in the back were heckling the poets.  I was a youngster then, and hearing Denver's legends for the first time; the entire experience was a little intimidating.   I kept going back every week for MONTHS before I finally got the courage to read . . . it's been a wild affair ever since.