According to the Urban Dictionary, slam poetry is defined as:
A/ A type of poetry expressing a person’s personal story and/or struggle usually in an intensely emotional style.
B/ The only thing known to man that makes anyone under the age of 30 like poetry.
C/ A style of spoken word poetry that is generally used in a competition, known as a poetry slam.
For those who haven’t been to a poetry slam competition, where famed wordsmiths such as the Okanagan’s Shane Koyzcan got their start, now’s your chance.
The Vernon Performing Arts Centre is hosting the Travellin’ Slam Poetry night on Friday, Feb. 15 as one of its special presentations.
An intensely competitive take on poetry in which three award-winning slam poets will compete for top honours in an audience judged event, the event will be filled with boisterous cheers, high fives, and lots of great poetry, said host Brendan McLeod,who is part of the Vancouver arts collective The Fugitives.
“What you’re seeing is a high-octane, high-energy mix of three performers doing various kinds of exciting poetry,” he said. “Because scores are judged by the audience, performers bring a very dynamic range of performance to the pieces.”
The lineup includes any three of Zaccheus Jackson, Julie Peters, Lucia Misch, Chris Gilpin, Kelsey Savage, RC Weslowski, or Jillian Christmas, who are passionate and engaging poets with something to say.
Between them, they have won everything from the World Slam, runner-up to the Vancouver CBC Poetry Face-off, not to mention the Vancouver Woman of the World Slam and the Vancouver Haiku Death Match.
The poets will perform their own short works without any props, costumes or musical instruments. The poems are then judged on a scale from zero to 10 by five judges selected from the audience.
The show’s competitive format is further enhanced by the audience, who are encouraged to influence the judges by showing their approval or disapproval of the judges’ scores.
“If the poem is good and the judges’ rate it too low, the audience is encouraged to boo the judges in a friendly manner, and to cheer if they approve of the judges’ scores. It’s very interactive because the performers feed off the energy of the crowd,” said McLeod, adding, “Poetry lovers enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun. Even if you don’t like poetry, it’s a great event to come to.”
The Vernon Performing Arts Centre is also offering a deal for those on a tight budget to attend the show.
“When purchasing tickets for Travellin’ Slam Poetry mention the word slam either over the phone or online to the Ticket Seller and you will get your $25 tickets for $5 each,” said the centre’s Brian van Wensem.
To purchase tickets call the Ticket Seller at 250-549-7469, or visit www.ticketseller.ca.