check this out:http://www.thepoetryblog.net/
2009/06/05/ slam-is-dead- they-say/
i think this post is largely bullshit.
while this critique has, at various times throughout our history, shown some truth, the larger reality is one of beauty and passion and a love for communication. yes, you have to sometimes look beyond the people who all sound like they are auditioning for def poetry, but beyond that is an amazing poetry about being human and yearning for a deeper communication.
poetry slam has not stopped growing and is not stuck in def poetry mode. there is a deeper poetry coming up that is less about pointing fingers and more about rejoicing in the US, less about me me me and more about US.
look at shannon leigh's work. look at danny sherrard. look at anis mojgani. look at rachel mckibbens. there are many poets on the scene right now playing an active part in the continuing evolution of our community, and these poets are not limited by the bullshit that has threatened to define what we do in the past.
granted, lots of these young people try to mimic their favourite artists, but, to be perfectly honest, if they are mimicking buddy wakefield and andrea gibson, i am pretty damned cool with that. once they begin to find their own voices, then they will grow past the mimickry, but its up to the elders of slam to help them along their way.
that's one of the big reasons i still come to slams and still play a very active role in our national poetry slam community. i've been at this since '92, and i can offer incite that perhaps can steer someone away from a path of self-congratulations and one of community.
as for slam history... i think it's unfortunate that there has not been a focus on archiving our community and acknowledging those who have come before and made this whole revolution possible. why has there not been a more concerted effort at this? what's more, why do most slam poets do this for a while, make a name for themselves, then abandon their community as if they don't need it anymore? i'm trying to change that myself with my own actions, and i love it when poets like mike mcgee volunteer to be bout managers and hosts at nationals. that's giving back to our community, and it provides a sort of mentorship for the younger poets coming up.
slam is what you make of it, and if you allow it to be bullshit, then you really must include yourself in the blame.
my two cents.
i just came from southern fried regionals, and i know for a fact this shit is about community and supporting our fellow poets more than anything else. in scene after scene across america, there are poets doing this NOT to get on def poetry and NOT to advance their own names, but to be a part of a vibrant and lovely community.
like any family, yeah, we got issues, but we figure them out.
big poppa e