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    Join in and either participate or watch the 1st poetry slam of 2015 on Tuesday, January 13 at 7pm at Sweet Peaches in the Russell Neighborhood. What is a poetry slam? In short, it is a competitive event in which poets read or recite their own original and individual work. The performances are judged and awarded points based on the judging. A "slam" is a competitive sport and involves spoken word poetry. There is emphasis on both the written and the spoken, and attention is paid to both what is being said and how it is being said and portrayed through the performance.

    According to the Sweet Peaches Poetry Slam Facebook event page, there is some interesting history behind poetry slams such as this one. "In 1984, construction worker and poet Marc Smith started a poetry reading at a Chicago jazz club, the Get Me High lounge, looking for a way to breathe life into the open mike format. The series, and its emphasis on performance, laid the groundwork for the brand of poetry that would eventually be exhibited in slam. In 1986, Smith approached Dave Jemilo, the owner of the Green Mill (a Chicago jazz club and former haunt of Al Capone), with a plan to host a weekly poetry competition on Sunday nights. Jemilo welcomed him, and the Uptown Poetry Slam was born on July 25 of that year. Smith drew on baseball and bridge terminology for the name, and instituted the basic features of the competition, including judges chosen from the audience and cash prizes for the winner. The Green Mill evolved into a Mecca for performance poets, and the Uptown Poetry Slam continues to run every Sunday night."

    The basic rules of a poetry slam are:
    "Each poem must be of the poet's own construction.
    Each poet gets three minutes (plus a ten-second grace period) to read one poem. If the poet goes over time, points will be deducted from the total score.
    The poet may not use props, costumes or musical instruments.
    Of the scores the poet received from the five judges, the high and low scores are dropped and the middle three are added together, giving the poet a total score of 0-30."

    Those who want to participate in the poetry slam = cost is $7
    Spectators and audience members = cost FREE
    Sweet Peaches is located at 1800 W. Muhammad Ali Boulevard, 40203. Find them on Facebook, enjoy the slam and the food as well. The poetry slam is sponsored and coordinated by Maxwellsounds, and is hosted by Lance Newman.

    Photos courtesy of Sweet Peaches, Facebook

    Erin Nevitt's picture

    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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