All performing artists enjoy the limelight, attention and awe from the public audience. Any live performance in turn gets more energetic with audience participation. Musicians today encourage audience participation by motivating them to sing along and clap their hands to the beat. This kind of behavior has also seeped into stand up comedy shows and open mic poetry recitations.
Poetry slams events remain a success to date only because of the public audience that is drawn to the charisma of clannish eras – eras wherein almost everyone in the community took part in tribal folk dances, singing sessions and story narration.
Poetry slam first started somewhere in the year 1984 by Marc Smith – a construction worker and took place in a jazz club in Chicago. A couple of years later Smith proposed a plan to another club, the owner of the club accepted Smith’s idea. Smith’s idea was to host a live poetry competition on Saturday nights for enthusiastic performance poets, slam poetry was thus introduced.
These poetries slam events have pushed poetry to a more energetic level of performance, making it a passionate experience for poets and participants alike.
Initially slam poetry was all about certain subjects that revolved around public concerns such as politics, social issues etc. But the poetry slams of today have expanded immensely with a wide variety of themes and subjects.
These poetries slam events are not something that will fade away and are surely here to stay. A form of entertainment that is based on imagination and rooted in performance art will always receive not just an enthusiastic audience but also high brow criticism.
Poetry slams in the true sense are not merely based on the words or lines that are recited and as a matter of fact it is emphatic narration, voice modulation, eye contact and body language that go into this art of performance poetry.