Aggressive, impassioned tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, gut-busting, awe-inspiring words. Slam Poetry. It’s simple:
(1)Write three poems. They must be original but do not need to be “new”. (2)Attend a poetry slam. (3)Read your poems aloud to fellow poetry lovers.
Well, admittedly, it’s slightly more complex than that. There are scores and rounds as well as points involved, but those are not the important parts of slam poetry. What matters in slam are the words and the people.
Slam poems grow from passion. Often expressing the author’s intense emotions about a subject, slams lend themselves to direct language, complex metaphor and personal experience. Many poets write about injustice, love and pain – topics that catch audience interest and make bold statements. Slam may not be the venue for your sweet, end-rhymed couplets (not to discourage fans of form or structure): not because they’re bad, but because slam, as a preformative art form constrained by time, generally works best when it immediately grabs the audience. Whether spouting furious spondees on worker’s rights or threading tight quatrains both tight and tender, a poetry slam really lends itself to any form of poetry. As long as the words are coupled with an energetic, impassioned reading, that is. Slam is (arguably) just as much about the person saying the words as it is about the stanzas themselves; a poor poem paired with a charismatic reader can still shine. So if you doubt those quickly scribbled, brash words bragging about your mathematical prowess, never fear! Stand up and read with confidence; it’s about you as much as the words.
On March 20 at 8 p.m., there will be a poetry slam at De Koffee Boon in Orange City. It’s co-sponsored by the Orange City Arts Council and the Northwestern College English Department, and Professor Bob Hubbard of the NW Theatre Department will emcee. Following the slam (around 10 p.m.), indie folk band Bella Ruse of Minneapolis will perform. All are welcome to attend and to slam. Slammers, a few notices:
-Poems must be rated PG.
-Poems must not exceed three minutes in length.
-Everyone is eligible and welcome for the first round. Elimination begins in subsequent rounds.
Winning poets will receive prizes (potentially from local establishments like The Dutch Bakery and Hands Around the World).
Questions? Suggestions? Call Janine Calsbeek at (712) 707–2910 or Sarah Kugler at (712) 360-0016.