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Slam Poetry Essay

2752 words - 12 pages

Slam Poetry
In earlier times, poetry was the main literary form both as repository of cultural and historical knowledge when writing was not yet so widespread. This means poets had to almost memorize everything in the literal sense of the word to portray important societal events. But in modern times, poetry has lost its allure and given way to more pop culture inventions like the novel and the short story. Poetry was retained in the music industry, however, because it is in this form that people can easily relate to. Poems set to music have the power to inspire us, move us to action, make us ponder and think, arouse emotions like love, hate and anger, make us sad and cry or elevate us to ...view middle of the document...

It has taken on a very public form that is fast gaining popularity and accomplished performers to its ranks. This paper talks and analyzes about a particular performance or spoken poetry.

Now what exactly is a poetry slam? It is a public competition in which poets not only get to read their compositions but also act out their emotions and feelings as they read. It is a type of poetry reading that includes actions similar to acting on stage. In this regard, there are many aspects to a poetry slam besides the beauty of the poem alone. Included here are props or the way a poet comports himself or herself on stage that adds to the mere reading of poems. In other words, appearance like dressing appropriately for the occasion, composure, posture or body language. Hand gestures and facial expressions also count towards gaining the judges' nod in winning a prize. In short, one must look the part of a poet (Aptowicz 213). No longer is poetry the usual style with a poet sitting in staid surroundings and reading to a silent crowd.
Although poetry slam has been around for about two decades already, it is only lately that it has caught the public's imagination and attention. Frequent slam poetry contests had in a way contributed to the popularity of an art form considered to be more in the fringes. Poetry slams started as the dream of Bob Holman to rescue poetry from the clutches of academia and make it a popular art form. It owed its origins to three art forms which combined to produce it into what it is today: the so-called Harlem Renaissance, the Beats and hip-hop. The latter is a version of punk rock that is the reason for its attraction to the younger generations: those who are also interested in writing lyrics. Slams are both entertaining and surprising.
Poetry slams are not purely a black American art form only although many of its most ardent practitioners are colored persons. Many whites also attend poetry slams and appreciate this art form that combines poetry and hip-hop because the poems resonate with them in terms of the important messages these poems carry. In fact, it is an art form that transcends race and color; people find common cause in the political messages these carry. In other words, a very crucial aspect of poetry slams is the combination of medium and message. A poem can be sad or funny but the important thing is the message gets sent across to the audience.
Rhetorical Analysis – this paper analyzes a performance poetry done by Mr. Smokey Robinson. He is remarkably young-looking and does not act his age of 70 years when you get to see him in the video. If one is not familiar with him, the impression is a much younger man of perhaps in his late 50s or early 60s but this man has been around for quite some time in the music industry. His most famous song (composed by him but sung by someone else) is the oft cited anthem for young and old lovers alike – My Girl. His five-decade career in music in fact produced some...

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