Slam Poems, Spoken To Music
This is a new section for the site, and I wanted to share the story of why I added it to Digital Poet.
Dating back to Chicago in 1984, when slam poetry really became a thing, it has always been about four things: The poet, their words/message, the stage, and the audience. That was over 30 years ago, and much like most things on this planet, the movement has evolved. Poets and spoken word artists are becoming more creative; more resourceful. One of the trends I've caught onto in slam poetry is the addition of music to a piece ~~GASP!~~
I'm going to say something I say a lot: Slam poetry has no rule book. There are expectations, but no hard and fast laws or even guidelines; no one saying "slam poetry must look and feel like this." Now don't get it wrong - a poetry slam has rules, but the art of spoken word poetry itself is not just a competition. So why not experiment? Why not be creative? We're talking about poets; we're talking about artists. Damn skippy they should be creative.
With the amount of talent I've seen coupled with the amount of slam poets who have reached out to me to get their work published on this site, I've come to realize that, with the tremendous growth of the slam poetry movement, it's only logical to not just grow up, but to grow out. So poets, I'm calling on you to flaunt your wingspan. I'm counting on you to bring it. And if you've got it, and you want to share it, let me know - I'll publish it here!
Here's the thing about using music with spoken word poetry, and why it does not make the production a "song." The musical element should complement the words. Now that can take different form for different artists and poems. For some, music may be really ambient, in the background, hardly noticed. For others, music may come in before the words - there may even be singing. The key is to find the right balance where the music adds to the emotion you want the audience to endure while you, as the poet, are delivering your message.
Hope you enjoy this section. Hope y'all agree with me, too - but if not, hit me up, let me know why.