Given the tumultuous election season we’ve all been forced to endure, we thought it might be a good idea to give people a platform to voice their frustrations. And since we were planning on having another Porters & Poetry in April, it appeared as if the stars aligned perfectly for the Uncommon Loons to host a poetry slam!
Well, it’s not a proper poetry slam in that it isn’t a competition, but we’re looking for people to bring their best slam poems in order to share the heat of populist spoken word in the face of a political system that, let’s be honest, looks to be turning its face away from us unless we become rich. Regardless of whether the ranks of the political establishment want to, we wanna hear what you have to say!
So what is slam poetry? In brief, it’s somewhat an extension of the hip-hop poetry movement, though with direct roots to the Beat Generation of poets, largely characterized by the rant fashion in which the author/performer talks about social and political topics.
If you want an example of what I’m talking about, check out poet Shane Koyczan giving a TED Talk that effortlessly evolves into his poem “To This Day”:
Here’s another example from the 2014 National Poetry Slam Finals (sorry the audio isn’t the best):
And, what the heck, one more!
Given the politics of division that have been happening in spades this year, we want everyone to come together for Porters & Poetry (& Politics), because we’re convinced the arts are a uniting force. We invite the whole of the community to come and do everything from burning Donald Trump to even trumping Bernie Sanders! Let us know about the injustice under the cover of mass media coverage! What’s the personal affront to dignity that has yet to be made public? We all want to laugh and jeer and maybe even cry, so if you have a voice and an opinion, and a rhythm from which to share it, we want the people to hear it.
And as always, though the theme is slam, we welcome all styles of poetry. So please bring out your best haikus and sonnets too! Join us at the MacRostie Art Center in Grand Rapids on Friday, April 22, starting at 7 p.m.