Featured image: Gallery Hip
I walked into a poetry slam the other day expecting to come out unchanged. Instead, I found a mix of my biggest passions and a bunch of warm, big-hearted people. Here are seven reasons why you should consider doing the same.
Nothing is censored, which means people can talk about whatever they feel, and use the words they want to. As long they’re not outright attacking people, poets can say what they really want to without fear of being barred from the stage for unorthodox ideas.
There’s something for everyone.
Poets can speak about whatever they wish, and they do. From the subjects we don’t talk about in “polite society” and the struggles of being 6’7”, there will be a poem or a phrase that you relate to. Ideas are meant to be shared, and poetry slams are the perfect venue to meet people who share yours.
There’s a huge community you probably have never noticed.
In a city like Houston, where everything is available, slam poetry is free and very present. The added bonus is that most of the people who go to poetry slams are very friendly, and love to talk, so don’t worry about the necessity for social skills. If you’re genuinely interested, they’ll be happy to have a conversation or two.
There’s an energy only found at poetry slams.
When a poets “spits” their poem, they’re baring their innermost thoughts and feelings to the world. There’s an intensity to that is hard to find elsewhere. That vulnerability puts everyone in the same boat, in that it doesn’t matter how good a poet is, the poets are still putting themselves on display for criticism.
People will clap for a poet no matter what.
The thunderous applause after a poet performs is the same after every poet, no matter how good or bad they are. Snapping during the poem is a sign of respect, for a line that was well-delivered or particularly passionate, and the audience responds to every poet, regardless of what they’re talking about.
It’s free. Seriously.
There’s no cost for attending a slam, and you can usually walk right in. It’s also free of pressure to stick around or to perform. The venues are usually pretty open, and you can come and go as you please, provided between when poets are performing. Also, the only people who spit are those who want to, so feel no pressure to sign up and run to write a poem quickly underneath a table.
You’re immersed in the thrilling experience.
There are tons all around Houston, and it really is so much better than watching clips online. This way, you get to see how scoring works, and you can really be part of the experience. There’s a thrill to snapping along to a poem, and letting people know you enjoyed or related to someone else’s words. Also, you might just find the muse to write a poem or two yourself.
Poetry slams are a great way to get to know the city, meet new people, and try something different and original. You never know, you might really enjoy it, and find a passion you would have never discovered.