I was at my local library recently,
perusing the "Happenings" board, when to my intrinsic poetic pleasure I
discovered a freshly posted flyer announcing a "Poetry Slam March " - to begin
at our local beach and to culminate upon the library lawn - just a few days hence.
|I didn't have to wait long before I
heard them slamming their way toward me. There they were
lots of them
entire parade of poets marching to the iambic beat of their own verbiage - wending their
wordly way into town, having a simply grand time reciting in poetic re-spartee
Had I ever wondered (of course I hadn't) whether poetry is "alive and well," my questions would certainly have been answered that day. This was not an open-mic or coffee-house type of poetry reading. It was a true poetic marathon. It seems they were on their way to the poetry olympics, the National Poetry Slam Championships, to be held in nearby Providence the following week.
In the national bout, poets are pitted against one another in both individual and team events, scored by randomly chosen teams of judges, receiving scores ranging from 0.0 to 10.0. Elimination matches ensue, and word champions are subsequently chosen. Here on my town's library lawn, however, I was afforded a preview of that which would ensue in Providence. These folks performed their own poetic works, without the benefit of props or costumes. They could draw upon nothing other than their own lyrics and their own enthusiasm in their performances. I was mightily impressed, I must say - Their dramatic portrayal of their poetry was simply wonderful! This was a good hooky day
The most interesting part was that these talented folks had been touring the country for about a month previous to that day, collecting prolific poets as they proceeded to the National Poetry Slam. The troop had spent their travel time on the bus practicing with each other, they had performed numerous similar productions in various locales along the way, and they had obviously developed some wonderful friendships throughout their tour. I'm glad that this was one of their last stops, because I saw a truly fine-tuned "family" of poets at work. Of course, I HAD to know more about this "Poetry Slam" program, and went on a mission to learn about it. I wasn't a bit disappointed. It seems that they've been on the march for quite some time. I found some superb information about this program at http://www.poetryslam.com/ - It's a site worth visiting, folks.
All right - I admit it. This looks like a lot of fun to me. I'm definitely a poetry junkie. Not only that, I think I know what I'm doing NEXT summer. I'm standing on a street corner, brandishing a cardboard sign that says, "Adopt a Poor Prolific Poet". I wonder if anyone will notice when I play hooky for an entire month!!