“Turn and face the strange,
I wanna be a different man.”
– “Changes”, David Bowie
Slam poetry is not an impending disaster. It is an art form, it should be treated as one. Denying slam poetry its space is denying this generation to experiment with art. Simply.
If there is no experimentation in art, what is the use of art at all? Where will you find your will to be unusual?
Should art be restrictive?
We have complied enough to dogmas, we have read enough rules on poetry, we have had enough ghosts of the past instruct us on “how” to be a poet.
Slam poetry is a protest, it is a movement. It is a generation inhabiting comfortably inside a home. Who are we to deny people a home?
Slam poetry is based on the spoken word, it is. What exactly is wrong with it, in that case? The craft of performance can be learned, true. And there is a reason why Greeks concentrated so much on the art of oratory because it is.
To speak, or not to speak? That isn’t really the question.
The spoken word is not going anywhere is not a justification to condemn poetry, slam poetry in this specific case.
Our voices against separatism and intolerance aren’t going anywhere too. Does it mean that we give up on it? Does it mean that we do not hold on to the values we respect? Does it mean that we give up?
About theatres and poetry
First, I do not buy the theory that monologues are boring. It depends on the audience, and how they absorb monologue-based performances. But even if I do buy the argument, monologues in theatres have lost the charm not because they have become boring (please check Antigone or Oedipus at Colonus) alone.
We should also take into account that the entire structure of theatre has changed. There were different movements in theatre that occurred. Initially, theatre was very well based on monologues but over time there were playwrights who departed from the convention to establish what theatre is today.
Rap and poetry. Isn’t that absolute stereotyping of slam poetry? By categorizing it, we are also restricting the form to exit from a certain periphery of a stereotype. Or is the discomfort because of “rap” as a genre – which is seldom perceived artistically?
There are people out there for whom slam poetry has proved life-changing. It has helped them tackle social anxiety, panic attacks, even depression. Poetry did have a bardic tradition, and that is precisely how it began. Poetry is becoming a performance again, and as far as I think, Homer would’ve supported it wholeheartedly.
And if we really agree that art can change lives, what lunacy is it to deny slam poetry its recognition?
Image Credits: Google Images