“What exactly is A Slammin’ Adventure?” you ask. I hope I’m not the first to introduce you to Slam Poetry.
Stop. That’s not true. Start again.
If I am the first to introduce you to Slam, I am humbled and I welcome you to a completely new adventure in poetry. But if I am not, I welcome you to an adventure of my words. Miles and miles of my words, in fact. At least 4,427 of them as the crow flies. And since I am no crow, I will drive many more miles along this journey. And I will write about each and every one of them. And I will perform my words, my Slam Poetry, as I travel. I will use my words to start a conversation across this continent. And I will write about my words and your words and their words in my words.
A friend recently told me something in passing, spoken across a cubicle wall. I’m not sure he realized how it resonated with me. “If the word sings to you or screams to you, sing it or scream it out loud.” If the word sings to you or screams to you… if the word sings to you or screams to you… if the word sings to you or screams to you… repeating over and over again in my head, begging me to make poetry.
Words sing to me. And they scream to me. And they patter inside my heart. They play on my tongue and they speak volumes – even in the silence between them. And the combination of words, carefully chosen, well presented, punctuated with style, makes Slam Poetry.
Excerpt from “Slam I Am” by Gail Palmer
Slam is up on my two feet
Slam is poetry, with a beat
Slam is active, Slam is loud
Slam is not words up in a cloud
Slam is words inside my mouth
And Slam is how those words get out
My words will take me out of Alaska along a circuitous route. Up through the Last Frontier, down through Canada and then an s-curve across the Lower 48: Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts … just to name a few. Then August 9-13, 2011 I will attend the National Poetry Slam in Boston and Cambridge. Seventy-two teams of poets from around the country will participate.
I will not perform there. I am not on a team. Did you know Slam Poetry is a team sport? I didn’t, until now. So I will gain a crow’s eye perspective from the emcee microphone in Boston and plan my next year in poetry to include this team sport. And in the meantime, I will have A Slammin’ Adventure, and I invite you to join me.
And while I believe Slam Poetry should be absorbed through both eyes and ears, I want to give you a gift of my words for agreeing to come along. So until we pass our words in person (my favorite form of communication in a world of technology) I share mine with you in print. But you must stand and say the words out loud. You must slam them from your own mouth. You must promise me this, or you must stop reading now.