The documentary ‘Louder than Bomb” features the annual youth poetry slam in Chicago, in which many students and teams compete and share their poetry. The name of the documentary epitomizes the importance of slam poetry: Louder than a Bomb, meaning our words have the power to cause greater change in this world than a bomb does. The power of words is not through their textual meaning, instead in the cadence with which they are presented. Words aren’t tangible, but when delivered correctly they can hurt as badly as a slap in the face, or comfort as warmly as a soft pillow. The impact of poetry lies in the person speaking the words. We give meaning to words, not the other way around. The art of slam poetry gives people an outlet that combines speech and writing, giving a voice to people that might not otherwise be heard.
Luckily, slam poetry is easily accessible on the internet through numerous Youtube channels that feature hundreds of videos. Some of my favorite channels are:
Button Poetry: http://www.youtube.com/user/ButtonPoetry
The individuals on these channels are all masters of slam poetry, offering an array of different voices, opinions and backgrounds. Each poem has the ability to relate to many, therefore reaching a wide audience. One of the most popular slam poets, Sarah Kay, was even featured on a TED Talk for her poem: If I Should Have a Daughter, which reached over 2 million views. Sarah Kay is a good place to start when first getting into slam poetry, however there are many others who are just as incredible. Some of my favorite poets are: Kait Rokowski, Jeanann Verlee and Lauren Zuniga. Each of these women have such beautiful stories to tell through spoken word, however my overall favorite poet is Catalina Ferro. Catalina’s poems are hauntingly realistic and often offer some humor to the human experience. When I watch these poems, they allow me to connect to others and feel their pain, love and suffering, and I think that’s the importance of spoken word: connection to others through an abstract means. I do not need to meet Catalina to grasp the mark of significance she left on the me and on the world. Those who watch and relate to slam poetry gain a perspective of the world that would otherwise go unknown. Everyone has a story to share, and a poem they relate to.