As discussed in last week’s post, April is National Poetry Month. This week I want to discuss poetry slams. Simply put a poetry slam is a competition. The poet will construct and perform a poem with a strict time limit it is then scored by judges that were chosen randomly from the audience. Most people’s first experience with poetry is through slam, the work is issues driven highlighting the ills of our communities. If you watched HBO’s Def Poetry Jam in the early 2000s or more recently TVONE’s Verses and Flow you have experienced performances by poets who slam.
This week’s highlighted poet is Black Chakra (Jacob Mayberry). Black Chakra is a Baltimore-based Spoken Word artist and emcee. His talent has been showcased on stages across America. As part of DewMore Baltimore, he teaches students at Woodlawn high school the art of writing and performing poetry.
In 2016, as a member of Speak Out Slammageddon, Baltimore’s Adult Slam Team, he won the National Poetry Slam Championship held in Decatur, GA. On April 6, 2017, Slammageddon held a slam to determine who will represent Baltimore in this year National Slam in Denver, CO. Black Chakra not only made the team again; he is Baltimore’s Grand Slam Champion and will represent his city at the Individual World Poetry Slam Championship in Spokane, WA this fall. Black Chakra is proud to say he is a nerd; loves to discuss his favorite comics, the culture surrounding them and performs wearing his Superman tee shirt.
This week’s poem is called “Black Superman” recorded by Button Poetry at the National Poetry Slam, 2016 (strong language warning)
There are several movies and documentaries about poetry slams, a few of note are;