What is slam poetry? Teachers give Year 9s a taste.

Do you groan when someone mentions poetry? Now be honest. Let’s face it, understanding poetry is not one of the easiest things. And how relevant are daffodils and daggers to the everyday lives of teenage boys?

What about slam poetry? Urbandictionary.com defines ‘slam poetry’ as:

A type of poetry expressing a person’s personal story and/or struggle usually in an intensely emotional style. Very powerful, sincere, and moving.


The only thing known to man that makes anyone under the age of 30 like poetry.

Okay, perhaps the second one is a bit extreme but it’s reasonable to assume that Slam Poetry or Spoken Word or Urban Poetry might resonate more with young people than Elizabethan verse. After all, it’s almost Hip-Hop, isn’t it? It has the qualities young people can relate to: passion, political awareness, critical voice… It doesn’t stay in a book; it gets performed. It gives the performer an opportunity to deliver a message in a strong way, to embody a persona which allows you to shout, to insist, to uncover, to get angry, to be inspired – you get the idea.

Today in assembly our Year 9s were introduced to Slam Poetry by Mr Blair Mahoney who showed 3 examples before giving 3 English teachers unseen Slam Poetry to perform, after which 3 students gave them a score out of 10 (yeah, I know, lots of mystical numbers).

Ms Amanda Carroll was brave as first Slam Poet, performing Tom Wayman’s, “Did I Miss Anything?”. Sorry, Ms Carroll, I missed the start of your performance, but great stuff.

After Ms Anne-Marie Brownhill’s professional performance of Taylor Mali’s, “What Teachers Make, or Objection Overruled, or If things don’t work out, you can always go to law school”, Mr Richard Edge talked about the importance of confidence in the delivery of the poem, and then performed Harry Baker’s, “Where the Wild Things Are.”

It was a close competition but Mr Edge came out on top according to the student judges (don’t they look excited!).


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