To start out April, National Poetry Month, I thought I’d begin with Slam Poetry. Thanks to Jeri Walker at Word Bank Writing & Editing, I started watching slam poetry over the last year. Along with it being entertaining, I also am in awe of the performers.
Slam Poetry or Poetry Slam is performance poetry. It inspires poets to focus on the words they choose as well as how they say them. The poetry can revolve around a serious issue, personal local or worldwide, or a funny subject, as long as the words and how you share them with the audience leaves an impression.
According to these poetry slam sites, Poetry Slam and Slampapi, this type of poetry originated from Marc Smith (slampapi). A Chicago construction worker and poet, Marc had started a poetry reading series at a jazz club, Get Me High Lounge, to revive open mic poetry.
I admire anyone who can stand behind a mic in front of a crowd, because when it comes to public speaking, my “ums” increase as the saliva begins to dry up in my mouth. Slam poetry takes public speaking to another dimension. The words make us think, and the performances heighten the emotional rollercoaster the listener is going through.
For this post, I’d like to share a few slam poetry videos that truly moved me. This first one is from the Los Angeles Finals called “Somewhere in America” by Belissa Escoloedo, Zariya Allen, and Rhiannon McGavin. It is a powerful poem about books, history, and women. Please watch and listen to what these young girls are saying.
“Explaining My Depression to My Mother” by Sabrina Benaim made my heart stutter when I heard her words and watched her pain.
Now onto something else poetryish. I’d like to collect poems and/or lyrics from anyone interested in having them published in an anthology under my Baer Books Press. If I collect enough interest, authors will have an “About the Author” page alongside their poems. All poets will receive copies of the eBook in “mobi” and/or “epub” form and proceeds will go to Futures Without Violence. The subject of the poems should be about violence, and you can get an idea from the “Our Work” menu on the site. It can be about violence itself, its effects, teachings to prevent it, and/or triumphs, and it can be in traditional form or free verse. Deadline is May 31, 2015.
If you are interested in this poetry anthology, please submit your poem(s) or lyric(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s put our creative efforts into making the world a better place. Please pass this along.
Slam, Poetry and Causes,