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English: Slam Poetry

Resources to support the teaching and learning of English

Congratulations

Special wishes to Ivan and Yi Ming who are representing MHS in the finals of the 2017 Out Loud Schools Slam Poetry Contest at the Melbourne Writers Festival on Tuesday 29th August. Ivan and Yi Ming were one of the 5 teams selected from 14 schools, with their sensational heart-tugging performance.
Students from 9L, slam poets from 9D and 9E will be heartily cheering for our team on the day.
Thanks to Mr Mahoney and Mrs Carroll for working with Ivan and Yi Ming.

What is Performance Poetry?

Performance poetry is written to be performed and uses poetic devices that hold the ear more than the eye. ‚Äč

Here are some general features that many slam poems have in common:

  • Most poems are around 2 minutes long (with a 30 second grace period).

  • Must be an original work.

  • Easy to understand the first time it is heard.

  • Rhythmic, passionate and has a “rise” (climax).

  • With themes + subjects many people can relate to, e.g. Relationships, Politics, Religion, Insecurity, Family or Social issues.

  • Makes a clear statement or point.

  • How the poem is performed is at least as important as the content.

Paraphrased from the presentation: Popularising poetry for teachers.

“What I like about Slam poetry and spoken word performance poetry is it’s all about the noises you can make with your voice and your body… you don’t have any music, you don’t have props.” Mantra

Emilie Zoe Baker's 7 Steps

1. In teams (2-4 members), on butcher's paper brainstorm ideas and topics

2. Choose one subject and each team member write non-stop for 5 minutes on that subject

3. Teams share the work, read it aloud, pick out the best bits, find a structure. Will this rhyme? maybe it raps? What works, what doesn't?

4. Write it down like a script. Cut the 'fat'. Who is saying what and when? Are you saying some lines together? Will there be a chorus?

5. Record yourselves performing the poem. Is it engaging? Is it affecting? If not, rework it until it is.

6. Rehearse the poem, add movement and rhythm, add some swag.

7. Perform!

 

Advice from an expert

In these videos, teaching artist and two-time U.S. National Poetry Slam champion Guante will explore concrete vs. abstract language, turning ideas into poems, performance tips and tricks, going deeper with our ideas, and much more.

Watch this

How to...

How does your poem measure up to Michelle's checklist?

  • Authenticity

  • Celebratory

  • Joyful

  • Making people shaky and teary

  • Insight

  • Focus

  • Personal spiritual; force

  • Creating intimacy

  • Accessibility

  • Connection to breath

  • Memorise into the muscles

  • Commit to the piece, to the word, to the sentence, from beginning to end

  • Emotional transparency

  • Lyrical flow

  • Build (peaks and valleys)

  • Transitions between stanzas

  • Vivid imagery

From the presentation: Popularising poetry for teachers 

Australian Poetry Slam

Some of the Greats

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MWF Out Loud Competition Finalists

You need to perform as a group of 2, 3 or 4 members to be eligible to represent MHS at the Out Loud Schools Competition in this year's Melbourne Writers' Festival.

More Team performances

Subject guide created by

Subject guide created by Marie Buckland.

   

Contact Marie.