How to Write Slam Poetry
A slam is
My name is Mahogany L. Browne, Poet in New York City from the Nuyorican Poets Café, and we're going to talk about how to write a slam poem.We'll start off with:Slam is the vehicle where poetry is used in competition form; so it's like the Olympics of poetry. “What is a slam poem?” is highly different because there is no one slam poem. You can have haiku in slam, you can have sonnets in slam, you can have freeverse in slam.The only rules in slam are:Number 1, tell your story. Tell your story--not what you think others want to hear. The best part of poetry, for me, is learning who the poets are. Watching a poet unfold themselves onstage and fall in love with themselves again, fall in love with their life, and all of that has to do with how they write their story, not how they write what they think someone thinks of them. Write your truth; that's the only way you can really make it in slam.Number 2, memorize your poems…if possible. If not, you've got to learn how to work that stage with paper. People who hide behind paper while performing usually don't do well in slam because the audience feels cut out.Number 3, perform everywhere. Not just your neighborhood, not just your home venue, not just around the corner from your house, not just your college – go outside of your boundaries.And last but not least…Number 4, be kind to yourself. Those scores mean nothing. You want to win, true, but at the end of the day, your poetry is power. What you do do, is you use this genre, this field, as a way to sharpen your craft. That's the real test. The test is, ‘Did I ‘win' myself?' The slam is “cute.”Look for open mics, look for slams, go to your local college, everybody is having them. Even if you begin in an open mic, I'm certain that you can find a slam from there.Thanks for watching. For more information, please visit About.com.