Last night I took my 14 year old cousin to the Australian Poetry Slam Final.
It was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!
If you have not been before, you are missing out on something.
The 16 finalists from around the country entered the theatre to a rock star’s welcome, while the DJ played Eye of the Tiger. We knew we were in for some blood, sweat and tears from our wordsmiths. The Australian Poetry Slam has grown from humble beginnings all due to the tireless efforts of Chicago born Miles Merrill, who is himself an extremely talented poet and performer.
The good news is that you don’t have to wait a whole 12 months, the preliminary rounds start in June. I’ll post a link at the end of the blog so just keep reading.
Here are my top two reasons for loving poetry slam:
1. A sound kisses your ear . . .
It was a line from one of the poems last night and it keeps dancing around my mind. This is the beauty of spoken words, they kiss your ear and like the wind are gone, all but a memory. There were cameras, and I am sure you’ll see snippets on the web here and there, but it is an essentially ‘in the moment’ experience. It’s one of those things where you had to be there – body mind and soul, because you can’t just watch it back on iview, or put a bookmark in it and come back after you check your emails. Spoken word art demands more of you than the written word, but it also gives you so much in return.
Sometimes the kisses were rough and lusty, others shy and immature, all trying to seduce you, and yes baby, I want more.
2 Accessibility . . .
I first came across Poetry Slam in the early part of the noughties at the school I worked at in London. The Poetry Slam organisers send poets into the schools to workshop the year 6s and the best are chosen to compete in the Slam. The first poetry slammer, or as Miles Merrill prefers to be known, Spoken Word Artist, I came across looked like an extra from Trainspotting, and she came right out and told the kids that she’s had a bit of a troubled life, but as she stepped out in front of her audience of 300 little eager faces she spoke with such passion and vitality that her sins were washed clean. Poetry Slam is, for me, the height of communication excellence. It is direct participation with an audience. I highly recommend the experience. I first took my cousin for his 11th birthday, having first confirmed with his mum it was ok because the poems rate G to R. I refused to tell him where we were going till we got there, but of course it was so amazing that this is now our little annual treat.
Omar Mussa, the 2008 Poetry Slam Champion, claimed that last night was the greatest! I have to agree that the quality of the performers continues to improve, but so do the audience. The audience seem more educated, opinionated and appreciative. I loved being part of the roaring standing ovation – for a poet! Who can beat that?
So if you need more convincing, or if you’re already hooked and want to know more check out Word Travels
and enjoy the journey.