07 March 2009

Its just a slam ramble

From a thread on Perth Indymedia

Whilst its kinda interesting to read the analysis of a slam here on perth indy, the point of a slam is NOT the competition. At all.

The competition is an illusion, a delusion.

Slam events are purposely designed to produce random judges from the folks in the crowd, ie not literary judges, not high-brow poets, not beret-wearing snobs! Although if those are in the audience then they may get to be a judge.

Its random. Its open and transparent.

Slams began in the 80s in Chicago as an attempt to get more people along to poetry readings. And it works!

For me: having organised hundreds of poetry events since the mid-90s - including dozens of slams - the idea of a slam is to bring people to poetry events. Not for poets to compete with each other. The competition is certainly tongue-in-cheek and just a way of presenting new work to new audiences.

A slam event takes poetry to a higher place.

For poets: its an opportunity to perform your work in bite-sized chunks to a decent audience of people who may not necessarily be poets. Its a chance to perform quality work in a quality space. To be the best poet YOU can be - not the Winner of the comp!

For those that want to win a slam: Please don't enter it to win! Enter to hone your work, to take the opportunity to perform new stuff to new people. Refine and polish, rehearse and edit, craft and shape etc... Be the best poet you can be.

For the audience: its an opportunity to be entertained by contemporary and exciting poetry. The competition factor is a ruse. A joke. A ploy to get people in the venue. And it works. Every heat of this series was booked-out. We even needed a TV in the bar for those who couldn't fit in the theatre.

And the best bit about slams: I get to declare the next poet like they were a World Wrestling Federation superstar...

Nobody wins a slam. Everybody wins a slam.

al boyd

From a thread on Perth Indimedia

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