What is Poetry Slam?

A lot of people don’t know what a Poetry Slam is, and I think it is something so beautiful, that every single person on earth should at least have heard of it.

Simply put, Poetry Slams are competitive readings at which the audience’s reaction or the reaction of the jury (usually four judges) decides who “wins“. Contestants are given numerical scores (a 1 to 10) based on the poem’s content and poet’s performance. The text can be about anything you want to write about. Most people write about their life, problems, love, feelings, so basically they open their hearts. I think this is so brilliant! Even to just go there and listen to the different texts and get inspired by other people’s masterpieces. I have the impression it is also a bit retro, because you don’t just go on YouTube and watch some people talking to a camera, instead you take your time and go somewhere and listen to a live performance.

The rules of a Poetry Slam differ from Slam to Slam but the basic rules are:
•Each poem must be of the poet’s own construction
•Each poet gets three minutes to read their text. If the poet goes over time, points will be deducted from the total score
•The poet is not allowed to use props, costumes or musical instruments

My favorite poem is in German and it’s from the Poetry Slam „Bielefelder Hörsaal Slam“. It is called “One Day/Reckoning Text“ from Julia Engelmann. This poem is based on a sentence in a pop song, 1024px-Julia_Engelmann_FFM14_001namely: One day baby we’ll be old, oh baby we’ll be old and think of all the stories that we could have told.

I love this poem so much because after listening to it you start to think and wonder why we always keep saying “I’m going to do that and that”, but in the end you haven’t even started. Why don’t we just realise our lives are short and we shouldn’t waste them by talking about things we are going to do, but never get around to. Why don’t we just live like we want to live and without always thinking too much. Those were just some of the thoughts which were left behind in my brain after listening to the brilliant poem “One Day”.
Just watch it and create your own impression. (But for those who are very emotional: keep a pack of tissues next to you, just in case;))
Here is the video of her poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoxqZWvt7g8
But, as I already said in the beginning, this poem is in German, so you may want to look up the translation the online: https://learngermanwithg.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/one-day-baby-well-be-old-slam-by-julia-engelmann-in-german-and-translated-into-english/
I’m not involved in poetry slams, but now have gotten inspired by Julia Engelmann to maybe try to write a poem myself, so maybe you also want to try writing one. And, now I hope this blog has sparked the desire in you to go to a Poetry Slam 🙂

One thought on “What is Poetry Slam?”

  1. Dear KATPAT,
    I’m also a big fan of poetry slam, especially the ‘One Day’ by Julia Engelmann. I’ve watched it several times and I get emotional every time, because the text is so beautifully written and because she is so right about our society, always wasting our time and not following our dreams.
    I’ve already been to two poetry slams and like you, I can totally recommend visiting one!
    Thank you for writing about poetry slams, because I think more people should visit them and I think it’s better to already know about the rules before you go there.

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