I was reading an article in the LA times (http://articles.latimes.com/1997/jul/27/local/me-16847) about slam poetry and there was a brief section in the middle that talked about the genre’s criticism that I found pretty interesting

“But the genre has drawn criticism from more academic-minded poets, who see slam more as cheap entertainment than art, a mix of bad off-the-cuff poetry and theatrical rantings.

Just the idea of audience members holding up placards to judge poets like some beauty contest, they say, takes poetry out of the literary realm and pushes it toward vaudeville.

‘In slams, whoever screams the most and performs best, wins,” said local poet Rafael Alvarado. “It’s not the quality of the work. A really good poet could get up there and move people to tears and lose if he or she didn’t perform well. That’s not poetry.'”


We spoke in class about Billy Collins’ Poetry 180 and how poetry dies in high school. While I think sometimes poems should speak for themselves, the art and beauty of poetry has somewhat been lost on the younger generations. It seems to me that Slam Poetry attracts a wider audience that traditional poetry has. I’m confused as to why critics judge so harshly a new form that brings a new audience into the picture. I see Slam as a gateway that can revive the beauty of poems. Although theatrical I don’t think it being dramatic takes away any of the quality of the poetry

Just my thoughts!

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