In July we enjoyed welcoming all 500 students and teachers to the Poetry Slam! We raised the roof with brilliant audience participation and first class performances, making the slam incredibly difficult to judge!
In the end though, as with all slams, there has to be some winners and the top three teams were;
The Verse vs Verse Poetry Award went to: Perfect Purple Poets from Leopold Primary School (Brent)
The Verse vs Verse Performance Award went to: A Piece of Respect from St John’s Primary School Walham Green(Hammersmith & Fulham)
The Verse vs Verse Audience Award went to: Ms Barnett’s class from Norbury Primary School (Harrow)
Watch this short video to get a sense of the slam-
The standard has been set and we look forward to this years slam, with new poems and performances on the theme- ‘THE REAL ME‘
The Poetry Slam originated in the mid-1980s, when a Chicago poet named Marc Smith came up with the idea of a poetry competition to entertain the Sunday regulars at a bar named the Green Mill, (a Chicago jazz club and former haunt of Al Capone). Smith drew on baseball and bridge terminology for the name, and instituted the basic features of the competition, including judges chosen from the audience and cash prizes for the winner.
The Green Mill evolved into a Mecca for performance poets, and the Uptown Poetry Slam continues to run every Sunday night. The genre evolved and poetry slamming has become an American institution with national competitions.
Essentially a poetry slam is like a lyrical boxing match that pits poet against poet. During an American national bout, there will be three teams of four poets as well as an individual poet taking turns performing their work. The teams can choose to perform a group piece during a member’s slot, or that person can perform alone. Poets who perform alone have the opportunity to advance to the individual finals even if their team doesn’t make it as a unit. Consequently, strategy comes into play when team members decide whose slot will be sacrificed for a group performance that may earn the entire team points. Five people randomly chosen from the audience before the bout will give each poem a score from 0.0 to 10.0, with 10 being the highest. The high and the low scores are dropped, and the three remaining scores are added.Each poet has a time limit of three minutes, with a 10- second grace period. After the grace period is passed, points will be deducted from the poet’s final score.
Unlike theatre or music performance, the poetry slam is a pared-down event because poets aren’t permitted to use props, costumes or music. Yet the slams are able to offer the audience more. There’s just one person and a microphone – an expression of creativity straight to the vein.
In America the MCs encourage the audience to respond to the poets or the judges in any way they see fit. Audiences can boo or cheer at the conclusion of a poem, or even during a poem. At the Uptown Slam at Chicago’s Green Mill Tavern, where poetry slam was born, the audience is instructed on an established progression of reactions if they don’t like a poet, including finger snapping, foot stomping, and various verbal exhortations.
Audience reaction will play a key role in the Verse vs Verse Slam, Eastside suggests the following positive reactions:
1.) Clapping, 2.) Clapping and cheering, 3.) Clapping, cheering, standing up and stamping feet.
No negative reactions will be allowed at this slam.
One of the best things about poetry slam is the range of poets it attracts. A diverse range of work can be found, including heartfelt love poetry, searing social commentary, uproarious comic routines, and bittersweet personal confessional pieces. Poets are free to do work in any style on any subject. For the Verse vs Verse poetry slam the theme will be ‘Peace’ poems must therefore reflect this theme.
Simply put, poetry slam is the competitive art of performance poetry. It puts a dual emphasis on writing and performance, encouraging poets to focus on what they’re saying and how they’re saying it. A poetry slam is an event in which poets perform their work and are judged by members of the audience. Typically, the host or another organizer select the judges, who are instructed to give numerical scores (on a zero to 10 or 1 to 10 scale) based on the poet’s content and performance.
The Verse vs Verse poetry slam is a chance for your classes to celebrate poetry. It enables all classes from the 9 participating schools to meet and work with a poet and experience a real and large scale poetry slam. Students will represent their class and school in the project wide competition. As part of the project teachers will be invited to participate in a creative poetry workshop and also host a poet’s visit to their school.
Former Asheville, N.C. slammaster Allan Wolf coined the phrase, “The points are not the point; the point is poetry” prior to the 1994 National Poetry Slam in Asheville. The phrase has become a mantra of sorts, reminding poets and organizers that the goal of slam is to increase poetry’s audience.