Monday, February 11, 2008


(ok- this is a really a article I submitted to the student newspaper...but thought you might enjoy it too)~guybrarian

Ever slam your finger in a car door? You know it is about to happen. In slow motion you watch in horror as the door whooshes uncontrollably into your flesh. With a JOLT you are keenly aware of your senses and the incredible pain that this very REAL action caused. In many ways it changes your life for quite some time. You have to touch and grab things differently. You can’t point at things the same as before. The very real fact of this event is etched right into your fingernail- usually for weeks to come.

That is the idea behind Poetry Slams. They originated with Marc Smith who was a construction worker that loved poetry. He was fed up with stuffy academic poetry readings that appeared to have little regard for its audience. Smith created an event that included the crowd as judges and scorekeepers and where poets could present their raw, edgy and very REAL poetry. The audience in a way actually becomes part of each poem’s performance. At Silver Creek- we have modeled our competitive event after this model where each poet performs for five judges who award a numeric score to each poem. The highest and lowest score are dropped, giving each performance a rating between zero and thirty points.

While most slams go many rounds, Silver Creek only has time for two rounds during the lunchtime presentation. Even so- there is lots of time for good entertainment. Many rounds can be very competitive- with the top two poets separated by less than .7 of a point! Winners vie for highly coveted prizes like sidewalk chalk, water rockets or the amazing twisted animal balloon maker! It is always an interesting event, and continues to draws visitors from throughout the district.
Each slam is different, but there is always something that happens that jars your thinking…and with a JOLT you are keenly aware of your senses…in ways that change your thinking for quite some time.
By the way, props, costumes, and music are generally forbidden in slams. However for the March poetry slam organizers are opening it up to Sock Puppet poets. Come and join in the hilarity!

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