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Poetry to Strayer: “Slam Me.”

April 20, 2010

I went to the Vancouver poetry slam finals last night. I didn’t agree with the outcome, but everything else about it was kickass. Poetry slam is when you write a poem, probably memorize it, practice delivering it a bunch of times, write your name on a sign-up sheet, and then when your name gets said by the emcee, go up and slam the poem; i.e., recite it in a theatrical, engaging manner. Judges judge your performance and the person with the highest score at the end of the night wins a series of intangible prizes: props, respect, fives of varying heights, etc.

Logically, there ought not to be any difference between spoken word and talking. But somehow, they’re two completely different things. I don’t know if poetry slams even exist in Calgary but there seems to be no shortage of them here in The Big V. My new goal in life is to be in one. It’s just a matter of writing something and signing up somewhere. I’m giving myself eight weeks. If it goes well–and it will, my fellow Romans, it will–there will be others. The winner yesterday got this fucking immense belt. It was a belt worthy of a Hesiodic Titan. Verily, Typhoeus himself would have to eat his own mother to make that singular cingulum circumnavigate his waist fashionably. I want that belt. I’m going to start buying oversized pants on purpose, to give this situation a greater sense of urgency.

I don’t know how poetry has managed to go this long without being slammed by me. I should have been throwing it down all over the place for years and years by now. Poetry should be on the ground cowering in the artificial floor-twilight of my shadow. It should instinctively reach for its helmet every time it senses my presence. Every one of its vertebrae should be cracked and bruised beyond repair thanks to my flagrant and gleeful ill-treatment.

The mother of Typhoeus is the earth. The Typhoeus joke above is funny because the implication–achieved through the use of hyperbole–is that the poetry slam belt is so large that one of ancient literature’s largest mythical creatures would have to eat the planet earth in order to wear it.

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