Sunday, September 19, 2010

Poetry Speaks

I was in poetry club last year for mainly one reason: Def Poetry Jam. Def Poetry Jam is a television series on HBO that presents the performances of spoken word poetry with an urban feel. Although not technically a poetry slam, it serves as a connection between hip-hop and the poetry slam movement and includes performances by many National Poetry Slam champions. A poetry slam is a competition in which poets read their poems to an audience, created by American poet Marc Smith in 1984. The National Poetry Slam is a large-scale team poetry slam that takes place every year in August. The National Poetry Slam is held by Poetry Slam, Inc. Poetry Slam, Inc. is a non-profit organization that oversees the international coalition of poetry slams. Poetry Slam, Inc. also holds the Individual World Poetry Slam. The IWPS is much like the NPS, but designed for individual competition and including poets from all over the world. All I can say is I love it. I love hearing the poet channel their emotions into their poems. I especially love the more humorous performances, but I also love the performances that reveal a poet’s deep, raw, unrestrained emotions. Desire, hurt, anger, I love it all. There is no easy way to describe it. The best way I can is to describe this image I get in my head of words on a page, lines of poetry, trembling, shaking until they burst forth with raw power. The words become something deeper than what you can read on a piece of paper, they become a channel into the soul. Despite being criticized as diminishing the value of and commercializing the poetry slam, I believe that Def Poetry Jam provides an urban influence that connects more readily with many young people today than the poetry they are taught in school. I didn’t have much time for poetry club, but I always had time for Def Poetry Jam. Why it is that I didn’t just check out the DVD from the library is beyond me.