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thoughts on spoken word poetry or poetry slams

I have mixed feelings about the current infatuation with this type of performance. Firstly, it is not actually new but has been around for centuries in the form of theatrical monologues or soliloquies. Secondly, while my first exposure to it was exhilarating, it soon became formulaic in that it almost always seemed to be self affirming and prideful which after a while got boring and redundant. On a positive note, as Ms. Kay has said, it is relatively easy to access and allows for a great deal of confidence building on the part of the participants which is particularly useful for teenagers and young adults. thanks

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    R H 30+

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    Aug 1 2013: just to be clear, 'spoken word poetry' and 'poetry slams' are not the same. A poetry slam is a contest between spoken word poets with (generally) scoring and a token prize, whereas 'spoken word poetry' is the art form. There are hundreds of performances of spoken word poetry weekly around the country and around the world with varying levels of skill development displayed - as in any other art form. Yet, the point of spoken word poetry is that it is not to be judged (unless you're in a 'slam'). It is a personal expression. It is your voice spoken and heard. It is a venue where all can be heard, and all voices matter. Because we all matter. So while some develop greater skills (like family members), it is not the skill set that determines your success, but whether or not you have the courage to reveal yourself, and voice that which otherwise you would not.

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