Author Topic: From 1999-2009  (Read 6752 times)

bobdapoet

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From 1999-2009
« on: March 25, 2009, 10:28:21 AM »
If you had to list 5 most influencial Slam Poets in the Genre, whom would you list? and why?

Steve

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2009, 10:52:45 AM »
I had to go old skool. "Influential" is such a rotten way to measure. I mean, what does that mean? So here goes:

1) Marc Smith...why? Well...duh.
2) Patricia Smith, proved immediately that this was not just for men and not just for whites and not just for academics. Opened the genre to all, immediately.
3) Saul Williams, I hate that he is on my list. But you asked about "influential." He has been influential. Not to me. I believe I am anti-influenced by him, but he brought an early wave of performers and cross-influenced young people to the game. sha-clack-clack.
4) Jack McCarthy, proved that slam was open to all ages and even older, non smoker, non-drinker, non-stereotypical poets had a spot at the table. Jack opened the door to the over 40 poets still in our midst.
5) Taylor Mali, yes, the trust fund baby proved that you can make a living at this thing if you work twice as hard as any two other professionals and stay on top of your game with intent and intensity. He was the first poet to profess to be a "people's poet" who also carved out a big niche market (teachers) as his base. Smart feller, that Taylor.

I know that these predate 1999. I don't care. Slam existed before 1999.

BeverlyWilkinson

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2009, 11:03:23 AM »
Gary Mex Glazner His book was the first one I picked up about Slam.  It opened the door.

Matthew John Conley He is the perfect example of a poet with roots in slam who is constantly evolving and pushing to improve his art.  He is very generous in sharing what he has learned.

Brenda Moossy She is the first woman who showed me how to be truly comfortable on stage.

Lea Deschenes For proving there are actually some good people behind excellent art. 

Tony Brown For endlessly pissing me off enough to make me stop and think about what I really want out of this genre and this community. 

It was very hard to limit to five.  I had to go with ones that gave me breakthrough moments.
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simone

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2009, 01:03:24 PM »
I had to go old skool. "Influential" is such a rotten way to measure. I mean, what does that mean? So here goes:
1) Marc Smith...why? Well...duh.
It IS a rotten way to measure: I agree that Marc Smith is a poet, and that he is influential... But that he influenced by being a powerful organizer and a whiz-bang promotor. I'd argue the same for Gary Glazner. We could start a hell of top-three list right there. However...

My list of slam poets who inflenced the sound and direction of the genre is:
1) Patricia Smith. Her no-nonsense voice and almost unbeatable presence were the sound of slam until...
2) Saul Williams. Whenever a poet stepped up to the mic with two invisible turntables in front of them, I knew they'd just seen SlamNation. It seemed like he was the first poet every new slammer claimed as their kick-start, unless they preferred...
3) Taylor Mali. Putting aside his strategic contributions, I've seen more suburban-teachin', lawyer-beratin', How-To-Write-A-Political-Poem rippin' clones of Taylor walk into my venue than anyone except for...
4) Buddy Wakefield. In some sense, he's the new Saul: people come to slam because they found Buddy, and they love his work so much that they just want to do what he does, even if they don't know what he's doing.

I'm hard-pressed to find a fifth that ranks with these in my mind. I'm just going to go with "5) Architect." and be done with it.  ;D

Interestingly, my list of top five who influenced my work personally would be very different. Hm!
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BeverlyWilkinson

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2009, 01:11:52 PM »
Quote
It IS a rotten way to measure: I agree that Marc Smith is a poet, and that he is influential... But that he influenced by being a powerful organizer and a whiz-bang promotor. I'd argue the same for Gary Glazner. We could start a hell of top-three list right there. However...

I was looking at this as people who have influenced me personally. 

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richboucher

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2009, 10:53:05 PM »
The poets I count as those who have had the strongest
and most profound effect on me also reads like an old-school pantheon,
and if the list is meant to be which five poets had the most influence on me,
personally, here is what I would go with:

1. Bill MacMillan. Not just a good, old friend, but someone who pointed out to me what slam could really be.
He said to me long ago to give it a try and I did. If there is blame to assess regarding my even being "in slam", well.....

2. Danny Solis. When I think of what I aim for, sonically, aurally, voice-wise, I See and Hear Danny.

3. Lea Deschenes. She shocked me the very first time I saw her. Every word she spoke had edges to it you had to be careful with. She taught me a lot about voicing and inflection and that it doesn't always have to "go up to eleven", you just need to have careful aim.

4. Sean Shea. One of the earliest poets to show me how my early attempts at wordplay could have found improvement, and his example was also instructive in the proper uses of righteous anger.

5. Taylor Mali. Taylor was probably the first poet to help me learn not to care so much about the numbers and in doing so he was a great example of a performance poet who had sharpened his performance to onstage perfection. Observing his consistently perfect and smooth and powerful delivery over the early years (I go back a bit if you don't know me), I couldn't help but want to take that goal for myself. His was also the most powerful example of strength through comedy, through funny, for me.

I'll confess I'm a bit curious, too, as to why there is a limit to the range
we could pick from; why does it say "From 1999-2009"?


AmyD

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #6 on: March 26, 2009, 08:24:15 AM »
I had to go old skool. "Influential" is such a rotten way to measure. I mean, what does that mean? So here goes:
1) Marc Smith...why? Well...duh.
It IS a rotten way to measure: I agree that Marc Smith is a poet, and that he is influential... But that he influenced by being a powerful organizer and a whiz-bang promotor.

I disagree.  I think Marc's poetry is extremely important in itself.  It took me a while to realize that, and obviously I have the luxury of seeing him every week, but he has a unique style evident in many who followed.  Perhaps you could weigh his performance more heavily than his writing.  Seeing him command the band, or the audience, or the tap dancers that happen to pop in makes every show exciting.

bobdapoet

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #7 on: March 26, 2009, 05:41:24 PM »
Rich-

   Every generation has it's heroes, the Marcs, Taylors, Dannys, Wammos,  Patricias, etc.... It's easy to look at the people, the pioneers, that blazed that trail... because they were Brave enough to be first, to boldly go where no poet has gone before...

But who is that now?

Who, in the last 10 years, has been the trailblazer, the person that has become the great influence?

Is it the same people? Should it be?

This isn't an exercise in who can name the most old timers or who can name the names that everyone will think your are the cool kid for knowing...

It's an examination of what, and who, is influencing the poets that are getting involved today.

For example, Derrick Brown? perhaps removed from slam competition, but does he still influence the slam movement nationally?

So, who is that?

Bob

The poets I count as those who have had the strongest
and most profound effect on me also reads like an old-school pantheon,
and if the list is meant to be which five poets had the most influence on me,
personally, here is what I would go with:

1. Bill MacMillan. Not just a good, old friend, but someone who pointed out to me what slam could really be.
He said to me long ago to give it a try and I did. If there is blame to assess regarding my even being "in slam", well.....

2. Danny Solis. When I think of what I aim for, sonically, aurally, voice-wise, I See and Hear Danny.

3. Lea Deschenes. She shocked me the very first time I saw her. Every word she spoke had edges to it you had to be careful with. She taught me a lot about voicing and inflection and that it doesn't always have to "go up to eleven", you just need to have careful aim.

4. Sean Shea. One of the earliest poets to show me how my early attempts at wordplay could have found improvement, and his example was also instructive in the proper uses of righteous anger.

5. Taylor Mali. Taylor was probably the first poet to help me learn not to care so much about the numbers and in doing so he was a great example of a performance poet who had sharpened his performance to onstage perfection. Observing his consistently perfect and smooth and powerful delivery over the early years (I go back a bit if you don't know me), I couldn't help but want to take that goal for myself. His was also the most powerful example of strength through comedy, through funny, for me.

I'll confess I'm a bit curious, too, as to why there is a limit to the range
we could pick from; why does it say "From 1999-2009"?



DaveSilverberg

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2009, 08:37:37 PM »
You guys definitely need some a shot of Canadiana here...

1) Shane Koyczan -- outta Vancouver, first Canuck to win NPS, undoubtedly one of the most sough-after spoken word poets in Canada, tours like mad, and since I've become friends with him, learned so much about the craft, patience and drama of performing spoken word

2) CR Avery -- blew me outta my seat when I first saw him do a team piece with Barbara Adler and Shane. He's more than a beatboxing poet, dude can write, and he'll take the time to listen to ya after the show too. Plays a mean keytar as well

3) Amanda Hiebert -- from Toronto, poignant and powerful writer, unafraid to embrace the wild truths running through her life. Hasn't been at NPS, but she's a fixture at Canadian Festival of Spoken Word

4) RC Weslowski -- more Vancouver love, this time for a surrealist funkster who never ceases to surprise me. This is no cliched boring poet; RC will make you think differently, will poke at your most hidden neurons. Definitely gotta see him live

5) Leviathan -- a Toronto poet/rapper, he plays with language so beautifully, it's unreal. Has got a serious flow that has inspired many wannabes in Toronto and beyond. Doesn't slam too much anymore but when he performs, the audience is transfixed
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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2009, 05:06:37 PM »
1999-2009 is a GREAT range as the first poetry slam in Nebraska was April, 1999 at Wayne State College and then the first Omaha slam was at Border's Books a week later!

So here's my own 5:

5. Sam Weibe, AKA Deluxe Magnetic: He's never been to NPS, but he was the first person at a poetry slam I saw who really impressed me with his style.  He didn't always win, but he was always cool to watch and listen to.  And he had a stage name... hey, Omaha slam started out in its own pocket, nobody here had ever seen a slam in another area before, it would be 2 or 3 years before anyone showed up on the scene who ever had.

4. Blair: My first NPS was 2002 in Minneapolis... he blew me away on the Finals stage and, since, has come through Omaha a number of times, always being such a pleasure to have around.

3. Mike McGee and Brett Axels: They were among the first established folks to pass through Omaha as features.  Neither took much and both gave a ton.

2. Sarah McKinstry-Brown and Bad Andy: Both moved to Omaha (from Albuquerque and Memphis) in 2002 in unrelated circumstances and both really kicked off a lot of growth in our local slam scene as well as me, personally (to say nothing of Sarah marrying me the next year!).

1. Danny Solis: He always supported me, he always supported Omaha's poets and gave a ton to us in terms of suggestions, coaching, encouragement, and more.  He influenced our scene in so many positive ways, if I tried to do him justice it would sound like a Danny Solis infomercial.

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Scott Woods

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2009, 06:13:04 AM »
Buddy Wakefield
Shappy
Taylor Mali
Rachel McKibbens
Talaam Acey

I have seen more clones of these poets than any other in the given time period.  I mean, influence.
By the same token, I have only been influenced personally by two, and one way more than the other.

succulentpoet

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2009, 10:21:51 AM »
If I was going to speak for the Vancouver community, my top five would be:

- Shane Koyczan - Vancouver grand slam champ four times, on four teams, still tours nationally a ton, helped to form Vancouver's identity as a slam scene
- Mike McGee - basically an honorary Canadian. Has brought incredible amounts of love here.
- Buddy Wakefield - comes up to Van a fair bit, his style and content is very well received by this community
- Andrea Gibson - completely rocked the face off of IWPS here in 2007. Two years later, when I said that she was going to be coming here as a part of the Salt Lines show, I had two separate people say "Andrea Gibson saved my life. I will be there."
- Anis Mojgani - I think after he did our finals night last year, people were just sitting with their mouths open.

My personal top 5 would be Shane Koyczan, Andrea Gibson, Jeanann Verlee, Tara Hardy and Amanda Hiebert.
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WilliamJames

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2009, 03:50:54 AM »
I had to go old skool. "Influential" is such a rotten way to measure. I mean, what does that mean? So here goes:
1) Marc Smith...why? Well...duh.
It IS a rotten way to measure: I agree that Marc Smith is a poet, and that he is influential... But that he influenced by being a powerful organizer and a whiz-bang promotor. I'd argue the same for Gary Glazner. We could start a hell of top-three list right there. However...

My list of slam poets who inflenced the sound and direction of the genre is:
1) Patricia Smith. Her no-nonsense voice and almost unbeatable presence were the sound of slam until...
2) Saul Williams. Whenever a poet stepped up to the mic with two invisible turntables in front of them, I knew they'd just seen SlamNation. It seemed like he was the first poet every new slammer claimed as their kick-start, unless they preferred...
3) Taylor Mali. Putting aside his strategic contributions, I've seen more suburban-teachin', lawyer-beratin', How-To-Write-A-Political-Poem rippin' clones of Taylor walk into my venue than anyone except for...
4) Buddy Wakefield. In some sense, he's the new Saul: people come to slam because they found Buddy, and they love his work so much that they just want to do what he does, even if they don't know what he's doing.

I'm hard-pressed to find a fifth that ranks with these in my mind. I'm just going to go with "5) Architect." and be done with it.  ;D

Interestingly, my list of top five who influenced my work personally would be very different. Hm!

I can't let this go by without confessing that I am one of those very people who got into this whole slam thing because of Buddy. I haven't made it to an official event yet, but I'm heading to the ShadowLounge slam in Pittsburgh as soon as I can to try and cut my teeth on the real deal.
So, if this is an appropriate place to say so, I guess...Thanks, Buddy! Maybe I'll see you sometime...

karen_g

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2009, 03:13:44 PM »
I came to slam through women and poets doing spoken word who maybe were slam & maybe weren't, so I think there are tiers to this question.Personal, general, and then internal-community.
Personally,non-hierarchical order

Kimberly Simms- I am not sure who came first Cheryl B. or KJ, but they knew each other,suggested I get involved & recommended slam poets to book as features.Like Daphne Gottlieb.:) KJ put a clock in my hand.
Lucy Anderton- because she looked at me and said "you, you're going to help me with this bout"
Alix Olson-She gave me & our scene a leg up.
Theresa Davis-because we've been at each other's sides now for almost the whole time I've been a poetry organizer.

Generally, I think name recognition is a big thing.
 
Saul Williams, duh
Patricia Smith
Buddy Wakefield--tours with Sage Frances & the Ani tour brought some people around to our scene.
Taylor Mali the teacher factor can never be under estimated
Alix Olson and/or Staceyann Chin, if people aren't referring to one, it's to the other, in terms of festivals, indie bookstores, etc.
*And for Canadians, Buck 65, dude!

Internally, I think it's
Marc Smith, as the creator, as poet, as curmudgeon.
Patricia Smith because she's broken our own standards and records and broken that whole page stage thing.
RAC, her brass knuckle stamps on this list.I think her  name comes up in team rehearsals more than any other.
Tony Brown, because he's prolific and calls sh* out like he sees it.He knows what's good and he still reaches for it himself.He's one of our higher consciousnesses.
Andrea Gibson & Buddy together, I think, turned a kind of climate---the way they present politics with hope,vulnerability, universality, and crunching images spun away from the politics as personal approach to so much poetry and made it the other way around, less rant, more everyday life connecting to the big.


:-)
nerak_g

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Re: From 1999-2009
« Reply #14 on: May 11, 2009, 02:32:23 PM »
I'd hav to go with

1) Basalt the Olympian...she blew my mind in 99 with a poem about being allergic to peanuts...she read it at the prop slam where she performed it after eating half a jar of peanut butter...death defying.

2) Tantric Sax...this cat got up on stage and  PROMISED every seat in the house would be wet when he was done..he's the first poet I ever saw to a Saxaphone beat box in every poem...as far as every seat being wet...use your imagination

3) The poet Orange...always made sure to remind the audience...no poet can ever rhyme with me...mostly influential in what NOT to do when performing

4) Fun Da Mentalist...she was a hilarious performer out of the Christian Stand Up Comedy scene...her Tower of Babel--Oral Sex poem is genre defining

5) Flipper...I actually have a degree in Oceanography (minoring in 13th century catapulting) where we did 2 years focusing on dolphin linguistics...having a chance to study the nuances of the dialect I am blown away by the depth--Flipper brings it.  Not only in the pool but on the mic!

 

5) 
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