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Slam Poetry

June 22, 2010

I’ve recently started watching a lot of slam poetry. Why? Well, if you have to ask, you obviously haven’t seen enough slam poetry. Here are some of my current favorites.

This is Taylor Mali. He was a school teacher for nine years until he decided to perform the spoken word full time. But he never forgot — or lost his reverence for — the profession of teaching, and this poem in particular is about just how much teachers really do.

This is Andrea Gibson. She will blow your mind.

This is Saul Williams. If you don’t know him already, not only do I feel sorry for you,  but I’ll also give you an early “You’re welcome,” and save you the breath you’d need to utter a “Thank you.”

If you know of any other slam poets that really move you, please let me know. I’m kinda bingeing, and I’ll love all the material I can get. The spoken word is such a beautiful thing — and it’s inspiring. In fact, it’s inspiring me to write slam poetry. I’m in the middle of a piece right now, and when I finish it, I’ll post it. Stay tuned!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Kirk permalink
    June 23, 2010 3:06 pm

    EMILIA!
    I LOVE slam poetry. I haven’t heard any in so long though! All the links you posted were inceredible. I got hardcore chills with the teacher one.

    I did poetry competitions in high school and one year I did this guy’s slam piece. I always considered writing my own for competition, but whatever poem it was, it had to be published, and his was at some point.

    I would send you a link to a video of him performing it but I don’t think he does his own words justice in delivery. Here it is:

    I wanna hear a poem
    I wanna learn something I didn’t know
    I wanna say “yes” at the end, because I’m sick of saying “so?”

    I wanna hear a poem about who you are
    And what you think
    And why you slam
    Not a poem about me and my poem
    Because I know who I am

    I wanna hear a love poem
    A sad poem
    An “I hate my dad” poem
    A dream poem
    An “I’m not what I seem” poem
    An “I need” poem
    An “I also bleed” poem
    An “I’m alone” poem
    An “I can’t find my home” poem
    I just wanna hear a poem

    I wanna hear a poem about revolution
    About fists raised high
    And hips twisting in a rumble like a rumba
    I wanna follow the footsteps of Chè
    And hear the truth about the days of CIA killed the mumba

    I wanna hear a poem about struggle
    So that when I open my mouth, I can step outside myself
    I wanna listen to no less than the sounds of protest
    In the factories where workers sweat and make Air Jordans and Pro-Keds because
    If you wanna take shots at people
    Target Phil Knight and Bill Gates
    Contemplate how
    They own the products
    And they got the goods
    How they act like they care
    But they’re just Robin Hoods

    And because every second matters
    I wanna hear long poems
    and short poems
    about time and its limits
    because it took less
    than three minutes
    to attack Abner Louima
    to frame Assata Shakur
    and destroy Hiroshima
    to kill Eleanor Bumpers
    and Anthony Baez
    to gun down Malcolm
    with bullets
    they bought from the Feds.

    I wanna hear a poem where ideas kiss similes so deeply that metaphors get jealous
    Where the subject matters so much that adjectives start holding pro-noun rallies at city hall

    Because I wanna hear a poem that attacks the status quo
    That attracts the clapse of the cats with the fattest flows
    That makes the crowd pass the hat
    And pack my cap with a stack of dough

    Because I wanna guess your favorite color
    Then craft rhyme schemes out of thin air

    I wanna hear a poem
    I wanna feel a poem
    I wanna taste a poem
    Give me your spot on the mic if you wanna waste a poem

    I wanna
    Hear
    A Poem

    Steve Coleman, 1998 Slam Champion

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