What is slam poetry

I still recall the moment when we were first introduced to our new unit of the year ‘Poetries’, how the crowd roared with disappointment and annoyance. And I, sat on my seat thinking ‘not again…’

There was no doubt in my head that poetries were dull and old fashioned, like sentences scrapping on ancient leather, and poets trying to convey deep meanings that no one could simply understand. It requires countless layers of analysis just to unfold a symbolic message hidden behind a stanza of text, therefore I also found poetries time consuming and a waste of time. However, these thoughts eventually disappeared as we progressed through the unit of poetry, and I surprisingly developed a passion for poetry writing and performances.

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When Mr.Tefler first introduced the term ‘slam poetry’, no one knew the exact meaning behind it. I expected it to be a kind of poetry competition where writers compete to write poems within a time limit then slam it on the table when they’re done, but the video ‘Louder Than a Bomb’ revealed the truth for us. I was amazed by the performers in the video and never imagined that poems could be performed in such style and rhythm. The performers spoke about their life journey with passion like wild fire burning from their hearts. They were in control of the atmosphere and the audiences, as if it was a concert held by a solo singer. Poetries were sung with a natural melody built from the poets’ emotions and it brought life to the plain text.

As a participant in the Hong Kong Speech Festival, I have always been taught to do poetry performances with a specific rhythmic pattern to emphasize on the impulse of wordings. Therefore, the poetries I perform often sounded like words spoken through a radio, with levels of tones but no true emotions. My views on poetry performance was further expanded after watching the live slam poetry performance by Luca Lessons, which he has proven to us that the duty of the performer is not to merely read out the lines, but should instill the lines with a life.

In the past years, we were provided with skin-deep topics to write about, hence we were not able to create poems that express our inner emotions. Being in Year 10, I believe we have all grown and learnt to think for the world and ourselves. Therefore, through the making of this anthology, I eventually came in contact with thoughts that were kept in the deepest of my mind. I had to recall dusted memories and concealed options about my grandfather’s death, the fear of growing up, the inequality of society and the values of beauty etc. All the topics revealed my inner maturity that even I was stunned about. I believe that the process of writing poetry can really dig up the hidden emotions of one, and help the writer seek its inner self.

The formatting, length or vocabularies used does not matter in a poetry, what really matters is how much ink is poured from your heart onto the piece of work. Luca Lesson, the slam poetry champion told us that ‘Every single word written on the sheet of paper matters, and can make a significant impact’ After the unit, I am now convinced that through poetry, a writer’s confession can truly impact the values of the reader or listener in a way that could be remembered for a lifetime. Moreover, I have come to the conclusion that:

Poetry, is not simply consisted of words and sentences

Poetry, is a passion, a confession and an expression for those who wish to make a change through peace.

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