Author Topic: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam  (Read 31833 times)

BeverlyWilkinson

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #15 on: September 03, 2007, 11:22:05 PM »
I used to have these ritual nights at a local bookstore.  They consisted of much coffee, a journal and stacks of poetry books.  One night in February of 2000 the cafe was super crowded and i gave up the chair my jacket was slung over to a guy with a passion for poetry.  We started talking and after he inventoried my stacks, recited an e e cummings poem to me from memory.  ::swoon::  He asked me out on a date and took me to an open mic in Newark.  He ended up moving away but I became faithful to the open mic.  This is when I actually started writing.  Through my connections at the reading I found myself at Polomas in Baltmore when the Slamamerica tour came rolling through.

That night I saw Kwazi Davis (forgive me if I'm not spelling that right) do his poem about Beverly and the cherry tomatoes.  I saw Adam Stone do a poem about love and a spider.  Every hair on my body stood on end.  I met Danny Solis, Tony Brown, Seren Divine ...so many more.  I found myself in a hotel room with Denise Johnson and on a bed shooting the shit with Gary Glazner and Cass King.  I know I'm name dropping but you have to understand how in awe I was--how this was the moment I fell in love with it all.  It wasn't just the words on stage it was the ones off stage as well.  The unbelieveable hearts I met that night--I've been crushing on them ever since, selfishly wondering if someday someone might look at me the same way.
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Scott Woods

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2007, 06:51:13 AM »
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".       

Wait a minute: WHAT horn?!

Delrica

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2007, 07:16:56 AM »
Scott...

Just accept that you don't know everything (and that you're not Zod) and move on...

We've already done so  8) :P ;D
*The views expressed by Delrica are not that of PSi nor the Executive Council. Her gems are her own...deal with it*

Bob Whoopeecat Stephenson

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2007, 11:40:43 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.  Ellum for a more exciting form of poetry because I didn't want my future wife to "stay home next time".       

Wait a minute: WHAT horn?!

I have jumped back a bit and have a bell front baritone sitting about two feet from my computer now.  It gets played rarely.  I used to play euphonium, bell front baritone, valve trombone, trombone, bass trombone and super bone at one point.  Being neglected at the moment.
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Evan

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2007, 12:01:22 AM »
im still in awe that so many have responded to this.......ALL OF YOU ROCK!!

Quote
It wasn't just the words on stage it was the ones off stage as well.  The unbelieveable hearts I met that night--I've been crushing on them ever since, selfishly wondering if someday someone might look at me the same way.

That what keeps going back to NPS and Southern Fried.....the words of the poets, on and off stage. its feels weird to have a conversation with a poet...who's work i read two years earlier and was floored by.....but its a beautiful thing to have them TALK with you, even if they dont know YOUR name....just sorta kinda remember your face...lol.

Quote
Aged 22 it felt pretty good to realize that my words can be an axe.

at any age, you should feel pretty good about your words moving someone!
one world + one race = onelove

That Picture Poet

mikehenry

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2007, 12:01:55 AM »
Like many of the others here, was "all in" first slam I saw.  It was 1994, and this guy named Wammo started slam in Austin at a club called Emo's -- which was then and still remains the most punk rock club I've ever seen a slam in -- as a qualifying event for poets to get to perform at the Lollapalooza Tour's spoken word stage that summer.  It was awesome.  There was a tangible tension mixed with begrudging respect in both directions between the poets and the punks (and those who fit in both camps) and it felt like the night could completely jump the tracks at any moment.  

I'd been doing open mics for a few years, was hosting the two biggest ones in town, and a monthly gig with a spoken word ensemble called the Blue Plate Poets.  So, yeah, I thought I knew a few things.  Walked in, signed up, got my clock cleaned and I was kicked to the curb in the first round.  And immediately, absolutely knew that I was home.  Drank beer for the rest of the night and came back the next week.   We moved the slam to the club I booked (the Electric Lounge) a couple months later.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  First NPS the next year, haven't missed one since, don't intend to.


Scott Woods

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2007, 07:33:46 AM »
I have jumped back a bit and have a bell front baritone sitting about two feet from my computer now.  It gets played rarely.  I used to play euphonium, bell front baritone, valve trombone, trombone, bass trombone and super bone at one point.  Being neglected at the moment.


Dude: *I* used to play baritone in school!
I've switched back to the much lighter piano.

Raul "magic man" Rodarte

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #22 on: September 06, 2007, 02:04:47 PM »
Though I started writing poetry (bad poetry) in high school. I think i ended up doing it backwards from most poeple. I was a theatre freak first. Loved the power of speaking a message through performance. Tried to fine tune it by moving away from monologues and plays and found "interp"/forensics/college competitions which raised the bar on my poetry. since 97 i've been writing performance poetry and hosting open mics. This is when i fell in love with poetry. I saw the power of how different people speak their minds or express highs and lows in life. People were real at open mics. Then (with the Documentary Slam Nation to show peeps what posibilities lie ahead) we sparked interest in poetry slam. Now 2007, i help co-slammaster Amarillo's Slamarillo. Took our first team to NPS and it's like a poetry writing revival.

peace and love

Raul "magic man" Rodarte
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Michael Mlekoday

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #23 on: September 06, 2007, 06:25:56 PM »
I don't know...I'm still falling ever more deeply in love with Slam.

My first slam ever was my freshman year of college, a few years ago, and I had no idea what to expect. I just wanted to go rap for people. Some dude named Jaylee Alde was the feature poet...haha I remember actually thinking "Man, this guy doesn't even rhyme. Boring!" I was so clueless...But I liked some other kids who were slamming that night, and kept coming out.

I think the first time I ever heard Saul Williams was probably what got me interested in Slam/Spoken Word and even poetry in general, bridging it with Hip-Hop.

College Nationals 07 opened my eyes to a whole bunch of amazing poets and people. It was the first time I knew that Slam was the love of my life.

I can say for sure though that NPS this year, my first time, reinvigorated my faith in poetry and slam and the world in general. Indie Finals. Danny Sherrard. That moth. No turning back now.

donielle monique

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #24 on: September 10, 2007, 08:01:14 AM »
There was always a "love" or "extreme like" with poetry since about 10 years ago. I fell in love with poetry, as in cant do without it, February 2006 at IWPS in North Carolina and I have been a stalker ever since!

Delrica

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2007, 01:24:35 PM »
There was always a "love" or "extreme like" with poetry since about 10 years ago. I fell in love with poetry, as in cant do without it, February 2006 at IWPS in North Carolina and I have been a stalker ever since!


Was it my breakup haiku? You can tell me. It gets people every time ;)
*The views expressed by Delrica are not that of PSi nor the Executive Council. Her gems are her own...deal with it*

TSPrunier

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2007, 01:48:50 PM »
My love story is one of triumph over apathetic stick-in-the-muddedness inherited from my father. It took me years to take up my pen professionally and, even though I was enthralled with Def Poetry on HBO and later on Broadway, I still didn't believe a 31-year-old white male was permitted to step onto the stage. It wasn't until reruns, and noticing Steve Colman and Taylor Mali and GeminEye that I gave myself permission/overcame my fear to do this. And then we moved from the venue-rich Northern Jersey/New York area to Richmond, VA.

Two years and a few months later, after hearing rumblings about the largely underground scene in Richmond, I finally found a listing for an open mic. I went. Two weeks later, I showed up at the monthly slam, poem in hand, came in third and have been hooked ever since.

A few months later, I won the slam and was shut out of all competition for another 10 months (if you win, you can only open mic). I got bored and went online to get some books and DVDs, and found SlamNation. The story gets awfully familiar from there - Launched a venue, learned how to beg for money, made a bunch of friends throughout the country, etc., etc.

Now, as I step down as slam master, I look forward to making up for lost time with my writing. I not only look forward to competitions, but the open mic, my next book(s) and a CD next year. And touring. Addicted and loving it.

JeFFStumpo

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2007, 04:25:56 PM »
When I was an undergrad,  I was already into poetry that worked on the page. And I was into poetry that sounded good, but was so often disappointed upon actually coming across a reading/recording of these wonderfully evocative voices. One of the most disheartening experiences in the world is to listen to Langston Hughes read his own work. There is no blues, no jazz, no nothing to his voice. Eliot's Waste Land is incredible in terms of sound (I think James Baldwin said that he discovered jazz on the page from reading Eliot), but no readings of it ever did it justice. I'd read postmodernists who had a gorgeous sense of sound on the page (let's skip sense of sense for the moment) but just monotoned on in public - and this from poets who were specifically trying to break language down into phonemes and rhythms!

Then came Firefly. There was a local homeless guy named, no BS, John Firefly. He'd come onto campus sometimes, and I heard him read at an open mic in the basement of the student center. The guy just came alive, and it was the first time I heard someone read in such a way that everyone in the room had to listen. Whether the actual words will survive into posterity, I have my doubts (no offense intended to John if he ever comes across this)(but I do still have copies of every poem you gave me). But this was an electric presentation. Of course, I inadvertantly got him banned from the local Barnes & Noble - invited him there as a special reader (along with John O'Leary, see below). They arm-wrestled to see who would go first - the genuinely homeless black man and the homeless-looking Irish bard. Firefly had to go first, and breaks out a poem about watching himself in the mirror as he has sex. Little old ladies get up. Complaints are made. No more Firefly at B&N in Bloomington, IL.

That was the jab. The hook came in the form of an Irish poet named John O'Leary, who was the visiting writer-in-residence. This guy is amazing, and a poet in the deep, old sense of the word. His father used to make him study poetry each day, and you could walk up to him on campus and say, for example, "Paradise Lost, Book V, go," and he'd start quoting Milton. As for Virgil, and he'd go off in Latin. He was an obsessive revisionist (much like myself), and you'd see him walking around campus or smoking somewhere, and you knew from the look in his eye he was revising a sonnet. If you get the chance, try to get hold of either of his books of sonnets (Salt and Sea, respectively, both from the now-defunct Zenane Independent Media). Had a wonderful speaking voice, full of whatever it needed to be full of at the moment. Had excellent poetry, such that his good voice never had to carry a bad poem. Introduced me to the power of memorizing work, my own and others', and in refusing to let out a poem before it was ready, even if that took five or ten years.

That's love for the spoken word. Still trying to figure out if I ever fell in love with slam, or if I just use it to get people who wouldn't otherwise be interested in poetry, well, interested...

WonderDave

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #28 on: September 17, 2007, 01:43:07 PM »
Rustbelt 2007- that's right, real recently.
I started flirting with slam back in 01 here in MN, Thadra Sheridan ( I loved the piece she did that night by the way) saw me do a reading of some Lydia Lunch-esque stuff (for lack of a better mildly insulting word) .She invited me to the slam and I started going. I  had a few pieces I'd do but I was big into Improv at the time and there were schedule conflicts.
Nats was here in 02 but I didn't get to see a lot of it because I worked nights at a pub in South Minneapolis and was so broke at the time I couldn't afford to miss work.
Then in 2006 I got more into it actually competing enough to make the semi-finals here; I BOMBED hard fisrt round and then my acting career got a nice kick in the ass shoortly after. This made me realize I wanted to perform more and even make a living doing so (which I do now for the most part).  I took over Kieran's open mic one night invited everyone I knew And packed the house and got asked to stay on as co-host and then ended up taking the whole thing on solo. I had done a nice job of increasing attendance at the open mic and when Cynthia French was looking for someone to take over the slams she approached me ( and others including co-SM Allison) and Asked if I was interested. The show that was making me good money at the time was a about to end And I enjoyed running the open mic and helll I was at most slams anyway. So I said yes.

Then this past year I did our W&YI bouts (in LaX vs Milwaukee & in Des Moines vs Licoln and Omaha), the Amnesty International Slam in Milwaukee (where I was way out of my league) and those were sort of my courtship period. Then Came the Slammasters meeting in Madison. I had met Ed Mabrey( who organized the last RB) at the Amnesty Slam and knew he was running rustbelt this year. My Slam wasn't going to have the money to send a team to Rustbelt but I figured I could afford to ditch out on work for a few days and go see some kick ass poetry. So I bought a greyhound ticket (this drunk guy fell asleep on me) and went down to host some bouts.

It was fuckin' beautiful.
Amazing poets, amazing people, All these words blowin' my mind.

I realized that this was a community that I wanted and maybe even needed to be a part of.
Nats just furthered that bond. Oh the hippie love crap that has ensued.

So yeah Rust Belt 07

breakinthemix

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Re: When Did You 'Fall In Love' With Spoken Word/Slam
« Reply #29 on: September 27, 2007, 11:56:03 PM »
I started writing quite early--short stories in elementary, poems in middle school. Middle school was the first time I was ever exposed to slam as well--I was in 7th grade and I attended a local slam that was organized by a teacher at the high school (who I later had several times as a teacher in my high school career and who became my favorite teacher, hands down) and attended by many students from the high school. Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed by the "older crowd" but I open mic'ed one of my pieces and the next year actually slammed. So I suppose the first seeds of interest where planted in middle school, but I don't think it was until high school that I really "fell in love" with slam or spoken word.

Recently I've become more interested in it, attending small local slams in the past 2 years and so on. Unfortunately, my current car-less situation at college right now limits how often I can go to slams and open mic events, but I still try to get out as much as I can.