Earl Gray

Earl Gray
"You can argue with me but, in the end, you'll have to face that fact that you're arguing with a squirrel." - Earl Gray

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Performers: The Auctioneer

Sean Matthews "People Smoking Out my Window":

Among pixel, page and stage poets, the one that sticks closest to stereotype may be the last, especially the slammer. It is a young (i.e. fewer than 5% that I've seen were over 40) man's (i.e. more than two thirds of those I've encountered were male) world of cliché, platitude wannabes, constant shrieking, narcissism, and self-promotion. It is the mirror image of Tim Murphy: slammers generally make good eye contact and [over]use gesture and facial expression but don't modulate their tempo, tone or volume any more than John Marcus Powell does. Almost without exception, they speak so fast their words blur; combined with their excessive enthusiasm, they seem like overeager salesmen or auctioneers.

Eric Darby's "Scratch & Dent Dreams" from the 2005 National Poetry Slam Individual Semifinals:

Is it poetry? Not by any useful definition. It seems memorable enough for the orator but not for those who count: the attendees. In the slam world, the ultimate compliment a viewer can render is requesting to see the words. Such flattery rarely occurs. Even the national championships don't draw more viewers than participants. In all my research I have never seen a slam offering being presented or quoted by anyone other than the author. Rhetoric with rhyme (if present) could be a more apt description; other aspects of technique are conspicuously absent. The presentations and comments feature passion and message (neither of which vary much from one performance to the next), making most slammers a fatal combination of sentimentalist and Content Regent.

"We Are More" by Shane Koyczan for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics:

On the plus side, it would be impossible to create a composite "perfect poet" without the slammer's assertiveness in public.

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