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Author Topic: WHY DO YOU SLAM?  (Read 7973 times)

socipoet

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WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« on: November 21, 2010, 02:01:53 AM »
Slam Poet Stories. . . . 

So I had always vowed never to compete in a slam, feeling that poetry wasn't to be scored, then I decided to experience it and see what it
was like for myself- so I competed. . .  and the performance came off fantastically.  However, I still walked away with a feeling of uneasiness with having put my writings, thoughts, experiences out before an audience to be judged numerically. . .  I have always been curious about why people love to slam and therefore I'd like to hear from the other side of the coin. . .
 
How you got into slam,
why you do it,
what keeps you coming back
memorable (good or bad) experiences

and whatever else. . . .

Billy T

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2010, 11:02:50 PM »
For kicks.
Chicago Four Star PC http://www.ourstage.com/epk/chicagofourstarpoetryclub
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Detroitphoenix

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2010, 08:42:32 AM »
I slam because I'm competitive.  I help to produce WOWps because while I believe we shouldn't be scored, it's so much fun to watch the angst of it all.  Leaving eveything to public scrutiny can be humbling.
"Some people would rather lose their lives than lose freedom." ~Black Thought - The ROOTS

Duncan Shields

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2010, 03:47:45 PM »
Well, I was writing a lot.  Every day for four years or so.  Mostly science fiction but occasionally some poetry would slip in there.  A friend brought me to a poetry slam and it really blew my mind.  The first poetry performance I went to was Shane Koyczan and the first slams I attended were when the IWPS was held here in Vancouver a few years ago.  So my mind was pretty blown away by that.  After that, started volunteering at the slams and tried out a few pieces on the open mic.  I got bolder and then I starting winning a few slams here and there.  It was thrilling to read my stuff out to a receptive audience.

Now I'm the international slam master here along with Sean McGarragle, I'm the winner of the last Nerd Slam and Haiku Deathmatch and I've been on Finals Stage.  Haven't made a team yet but I tied for the alternate the year before last and I was second or third place from being the IWPS rep last year as well.  I'm surprised as hell at how well I'm doing.  But that's enough about that.

What I love most about the poetry slam is the time limit.  If a poem is horrible, it's only three minutes long.  If a poem is great, it works for our MTV, ADHD minds.  It compels the poets to get to the point.  I'm not saying that all good poems are short poems, I'm mostly saying that poems that I don't like are easier to take if I know they're only going to be three minutes long.  I think what scares most people about poetry readings is that they're going to be stuck in a room with someone doing a twenty-minute piece that goes on and on about something that they're not into.  And I don't blame them. 

For me, the scoring is just a gimmick to give the audience a roman coliseum feeling.  Spoken word, to me, has suffered a lot in terms of what's it's popularly conceived to be.  Mike Myer's riffing in So I Married An Axe Murderer is most people's sole experience of spoken word and even that was tongue-in-cheek parody of sixties beat poetry.  When I ask people if they want to come to a poetry reading, they look for a polite way to say no.  When I ask if they want to come to a slam, they are interested. 

All I know is that we regularly sell out a nearly two-hundred seat venue every Monday.  There hasn't been this many bums in seats for spoken-word poetry since the sixties as far as I know and if this form of personal expression has to be timed and scored to make it more accessible to the new generation, that's fine by me.  It's an evolution of the art form.  Sure, it's developed it's own cliches as the years have gone by but to me, it's always changing and I look forward to the future. 

Jared Paul

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2010, 08:54:35 PM »

To ensure that hyperbolic "poetry slam" hacks don't make it onto the squad for my venue.

The_Klute

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2011, 03:15:19 AM »
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I think ohmydad has said it better than I could.  I slam for the power leveling of hoses.
"Quiet, GIR! Do you want to wake up the whole planet?" - Zim

"I do." - GIR

simone

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2011, 08:09:53 AM »
Wow. I totally would have left that spam post undeleted if it hadn't contained so many links. Heehee.
Simone Beaubien
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Ransacked

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2011, 01:41:23 PM »

I think ohmydad has said it better than I could.  I slam for the power leveling of hoses.

Wait...what? Also, what?


puroshaggy

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2011, 05:25:16 PM »
For the money.

Syd Malicious

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2011, 02:30:04 PM »
Because I'm a show-off and this is a game I'm good at.

But seriously.  I got into slam by accident when I was peer-pressured into preforming at an open mic and there was a slammer in the room.  He came up to me afterwards and told me I had to start competing and he was cool so I did.  And I did pretty well so I stuck with it.  That was youth slam.  I didn't even know adult slam existed until St Paul won nats.  I had resigned myself to being done when I turned 19 and then all of a sudden there was this whole other world of poetry that was significantly better than anything I had heard before.  I got roped into a geek slam by Inky, who was the only nerd poet I had ever met and I was trying really hard to make her like me.  I got crushed but I also got a really warm welcome from the team and I decided immediately that I wanted them all to like me.  Now I do it because I'd eventually like to beat all of them.

I don't dislike slam format at all.  I'm not philosophically opposed to scoring art.  I don't know that it always (or even frequently) produces the 'best' art, but I don't particularly value non-functional art to begin with and I consider winning to be a function.

More than anything else, I like slam because it puts me around interesting people.

Stefan Sencerz

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2011, 03:33:35 PM »
That's where the audience is.
(And lots of fun, too.)

Detroitphoenix

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2011, 12:36:14 PM »
That's where the audience is.
(And lots of fun, too.)

I love this response.
"Some people would rather lose their lives than lose freedom." ~Black Thought - The ROOTS

Lakey

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #13 on: April 30, 2011, 11:34:05 AM »
By the time I was 19 I'd written over 200 poems. . . I saw a VW commercial where there was a poetry reading while I was holding a local paper. . . I looked for an open mic and showed up at PuroSlam.  I thought I'd pwn all the n00bs buuuut I sucked for the next 2. 5 years rarely ever getting out of the first round.

I kept coming back 'cuz slam poetry is as close to a rockstar as you can get if 'ya can't sing or play instruments. . . Plus I finally got good at it.  Plus it's an amazing thought to know that poetry allowed me to see the ocean for the first time(West Palm Beach), let me see my sister for the first time in 6 years(St.  Paul, MN), and this year it's gonna take me to Boston, one of the few east coast cities I wanna see. . . go Celtics!

There are poets that have given their whole life to poetry and have nothing to show for it. . . NPS changes that.

Stefan Sencerz

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Re: WHY DO YOU SLAM?
« Reply #14 on: May 04, 2011, 12:13:57 PM »
That's where the audience is.
(And lots of fun, too.)

I love this response.

Thank you!

I was thinking about some other reasons. But, frankly, that's about it for me.