Poetry Corner – Slam Poetry

… slammed and proud of it!

Every Canadian that could be was glued to the television set and/or other modes of viewing options to take in the opening ceremonies for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. We did ourselves proud and it was a joy to share that skill and pride with the world. Kudos to all who put their heart, soul and talents to work in that highly technical and truly Canadian production. I loved it all. My very favourite part of the entire production was the whales floating along ‘under’ the concrete surface of the stadium floor and spouting water as they swam from one side to the other. WoW!

Yet in addition to that (plus seeing Donald Sutherland dressed so regally in white and proudly carrying our country’s flag), what I enjoyed most was the amazingly accurate description of Canadians and our gentle, loving, profound way of life as depicted by Canadian slam poet Shane Koyczan.

In terms of pop culture, the opening ceremonies for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics was a showcase of Canada’s most mainstream entertainment — Nelly Furtado, Sarah McLachlan and Bryan Adams — but it was the performance of We Are More by slam poet Shane Koyczan that captured the energy in the room.

Here’s an excerpt:

we do more than sit around and say “eh?”
and yes
we are the home of the Rocket and the Great One
who inspired little number nines
and little number ninety-nines
but we’re more than just hockey and fishing lines
off of the rocky coast of the Maritimes
and some say what defines us
is something as simple as please and thank you
and as for you’re welcome
well we say that too
but we are more
than genteel or civilized
we are an idea in the process
of being realized
we are young
we are cultures strung together
then woven into a tapestry
and the design
is what makes us more
than the sum total of our history

The above quoted by Popped Culture

For more of this particular poem with Shane’s off stage, honest and true rendition: click here

My age shows when I’m confronted with all the new styles of ‘music’ and various other lyrical presentations by today’s youth. There’s rap and hip-hop and snap and more. Each one is unique, distinct one from the other. But I have to admit I had never heard of slam poetry till Shane’s presentation February 12th, 2010. According to citysoup.ca slam poetry is: “A circus act of hyperbole, a war of words, a magic act of metaphor, a wild ride of wit, wisdom and wonder. Competitive poetry. Raucous, raunchy or raw.”  There are even websites committed to teaching folks how to write slam poetry. Check this one out: click here.

I have to admit at this point I still can’t tell one style from another. But slam poetry has my attention now and having read other works by Shane Koyczan I think I might review the methods for learning how to do this myself. I could present my works to the local community to see if it flies. Call me the Slam Granny! What do you think?

Now that we’ve all had a good laugh for the day …

In Light and Laughter,


NOTE: As of the original writing of this post there was an active link to Shane’s home page: www.houseofparlance.com/koyczan/index.html However, it was shown as a NOT FOUND when I tried it February 17th. It may be that his server was just overwhelmed with requests for viewing! Give it a try … his other works are quite wonderful as well!

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