Slam poetry: A whole other side of verse

Have you snapped your fingers and yelled “Spit, poet!”

Have you ventured out to a glowing coffee shop late at night, huddled over a steaming mug as an impassioned poet plays with words?

Have you snapped your fingers and yelled “Spit, poet!” at the makeshift stage? Do you know what slam poetry is?

“This is for the factory farmed chicken looking at where the sky used to be. Flip the bird. Flip everything around you so the only sound you can hear anymore is the beating of wings all around you, trying to show you that you are so much greater that you appear,” Shayne avec i grec spoke into the microphone.

His voice gained momentum as his hands shaped the words he released into the Carihi multi purpose room. avec i grec is part of Raising Voices, a slam poetry group based in Victoria. Pam Stewart, Johnny MacRae and Jeremy Loveday also performed.

I spoke to Kai Harvey, a Carihi student about how the poetry slam affected her.

“It was really inspirational. It’s a whole other side of poetry,” she said.

Earlier in the day Stewart and MacRae taught a workshop as part of Carihi’s creative writing program. They wove in pieces of history: in 1985 the public began to lose interest in poetry, finding parlor recitations dull. Marc Smith, a poet and construction worker saw this and began to host poetry competitions in which random members of the audience were selected as judges. The only criteria was that the performance was entertaining. These events became unruly, often involving animals, elaborate costumes, and carelessly written poems. Smith decided to develop a set of rules which are still, used today: Each poem must be of the poet’s own construction. Each poet gets three minutes (plus a 10-second grace period) to read one poem. If the poet goes over time, points will be deducted from the total score. The poet may not use props, costumes or musical instruments;

Of the scores the poet received from the five judges, the high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score of 0-30.

“Everyone is encouraged to interact – the performer, the judges and the audience,” MacRae said of slams.  “The poets carry a physical energy with them, they really embody their words.”

The slam sparked an interest in Carihi students, who are in the process of setting up a slam poetry group. Some goals are performing at the teen open mic nights at Serious Coffee and competing in youth competitions.

For more information on Raising Voices and the Victoria Poetry Project go to victoriapoetryproject.ca

 

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Like father, like son: second generation hockey player joins Campbell River Storm

Wyatt Murray’s father, Ben Murray, played for the team in late 90s

BC Transit rate change, embarking rules shift into action June 1

Campbell River transit system getting a new day pass

Bride thankful ailing stepdad was able to walk her down the aisle

Ceremony held amidst pandemic in order to fulfill bride’s wish to have stepdad give her away

B.C. aquaculture farm’s employees sweat it out to raise funds for food banks

For every five minutes of exercise recorded, Cermaq Canada is donating a dollar to local food banks in communities they operate

Province pays $4.08 million for hotel to house fire victims

The Government of B.C. has purchased a new building to help people… Continue reading

Minimum wage goes up June 1 in B.C. as businesses face COVID-19 challenges

The minimum wage jumps by 75 cents to $14.60 an hour on Monday

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Mirror business directory and map

If you’d like to be added to the list, shoot us an email

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Surrey mayor’s party under fire for ‘sickening’ tweet accusing northern B.C. RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Most Read