Tag Archives: Performance

My First Poetry Slam

30 Oct

I never thought I’d be able to say I went to a poetry slam. However, I’ve been motivated by potential blog posts to try a lot of new things. When SG asked me if I wanted to drive to Ann Arbor for a poetry slam, I had no excuse not to.

After struggling to parallel park (didn’t happen), SG and I made our way to the slam. The Ann Arbor Poetry Slam has just been revived after a long hiatus and is now active weekly. If you live in the area, I recommend it, I had a lot of fun!

A photo I snapped during a banana dance.

A photo I snapped during a banana dance.

There were six poets that night and they were all really good (or at least I thought so). The woman running it, Lindsey AKA MC Banana talked to SG and I after and she’s been involved in slams across the country for over 10 years (see picture). Over the season, poets compete for points and those with the top 10 scores come April will compete to be sent to the national competition to represent Ann Arbor. The current standings are on the website I liked to above.

I feel there are a lot of stereotypes of slammers. Some of them I felt were fulfilled, while others surprised me. I will say there were a lot of skinny guys with dreadlocks, but I don’t think that will surprise anyone. I thought the pieces would be overly political and while a few were, a lot were about childhood memories and the poets relationships with their mothers. Yes, one was rough, but two were positive memories and thanks for the poet’s childhood. I was surprised to even hear a very humorous piece about camp counselors.

I talked with SG during the intermission and asked her what it was that she loved about poetry slams. She had a lot of insight that helped me watch the second round with different eyes. SG was a judge and she said that her scores were based half on the words the poet said and half on their performance of the words. The woman who won had wonderful stage presence and I think that’s a huge reason why she won. The other thing SG said about the slams is that the poetry is more ‘accessible.’ What she meant by this is that because it’s spoken and performed, it’s more straightforward. These aren’t poems that an English class would sit down and pour over for an hour, dissecting hidden meaning from each line. The poet has to speak in metaphors that the audience will understand right away which makes it much more impactful.

Reader, leave me a comment. I’d love to hear what you have to say about Poetry Slams. Have you been to one before? What do you think about poetry slams? 

Until next time, write on.