I no idea how a Poetry Slam worked. I sat in on a session with Patricia Johnson, a past winner of National Poetry Slam competitions, and a devout Christian. She currently works as the PIO for the Sheriff Department in Roanoake, VA. She read some of her poetry, but she primarily discussed the emotion behind belief, faith, and poetry. She was sincere, real, and dynamic -- even, and especially, in prayer.
She was hosting a Slam at the Calvin College coffee house tonight. I was tired after a full day of sessions and presentations, but my goal has been to absorb as much about poetry, and poetry presentations, as I could. So i went to the Fish House to watch.
I heard some of the best poetry all week. Where were these folks on open mic night the past two nights??!! And there was true diversity here; plenty of pain, emotion, excitement, and wonderful use of words and cadence. Rap and hip-hop without the music -- altho some of the presenters did sing part of their poetry. Each reader has three minutes at the microphone, and Patricia had three tables of judges on hand to do the scoring, on a 1-10 scale.
I didn't sign up initially, so I did not bring my poetry. But i was fascinated by the quality of the material, and the fun that people had on stage. So I started writing, and under prodding by Patricia, I finished enough lines to read. I was the last of about 12-13 readers -- and I came in 5th! The top 5 do another round, but I had no more words left.
So I was exposed to another facet of poetry, one that fosters incredible emotion, lyricism, and fun. That's what words are for.