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Friday, January 22, 2016

My Favorite Slams! (Part I)

Hey, all! As some of you may know, I am an amateur slam poet. I was on my slam poetry team for two years in high school and my senior year, my team came in third place in the finals for the Get Lit Classic Slam, one of the biggest poetry competitions for teens in Los Angeles. A video of a poem I did with my friend Alex wound up on Button Poetry, which is THE premier YouTube channel for slam poetry - aka one of the most exciting things that's ever happened to me! Here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfLdvMxeQWg

But I thought I'd also share some of my favorite spoken word pieces by other poets. You can find all of these on Button Poetry, but here's a starter guide to some of the best ones.

Neil Hilborn - "OCD"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnKZ4pdSU-s
The most famous upload to the Button Poetry channel - over 10 million views. Sort of a rite of passage that you watch this first. Subject: love and mental illness. Big stuff.

Neil Hilborn - "The Future"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6xUEg2WxGqQ
Another Hilborn piece! One of my all-time favorites. I watch it at least once a week. It just makes me feel good inside. Neil is a really incredible artist. He's also got some books out - I haven't bought any yet but I'm sure they're worth checking out! Subject: mental illness and survival. Beautiful and inspirational.

Dylan Garity - "Rigged Game"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bo3KFUzyMUI
Fun fact - Garity helped tape the Get Lit slam for Button Poetry and I got to meet him! I fangirled a lot. He was confused. Fair enough. Anyway, this poem is among the first I watched and it's got a lot of crazy intense one-liners. Whole thing is a must-see. Subject: the state of education in the U.S. He nails it.

Simon Stolzoff - "Boyfriend Material"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVpbvxEd1iE
Hilarious but weirdly sweet. A great poem to watch if you're feeling a bit down and want a good laugh (and to look at a cute boy from UPenn doing slam!) Subject: satire and relationships. Great  combo.

Phil Kaye - "Repetition"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KI6c_IfvHg
I adore Phil Kaye. He always delivers really heartfelt stuff, and this poem is no different. Definitely get his book and watch this little deal. Subject: family issues and speech impediments. He ties them together perfectly.

Anthony McPherson - "All Lives Matter: 1800s Edition"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGR0ihYux6w
HOLY MOTHER. This is one of the most crazy-good videos I have EVER seen. I get chills during every line. McPherson is a poetry god. Subject: race relations across generations. Utterly breathtaking.

Blythe Baird - "When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=16Tb_bZZDv0
Heartbreaking and so, so real. Blythe Baird really digs into the hard stuff with this one and it hits especially close to home with me. Subject: eating disorder and body image.

Kevin Kantor & Sienna Burnett - "Phases"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su75AX_urjU
This poem uses a lot of really great devices to talk about a really tough subject, which I believe is truly the point of great slam - to communicate powerful emotion and politics through wordplay and wit. This poem is exactly that. Subject: sexual orientation and the heartbreaking realities of questioning it. Really beautiful piece that caught me way off-guard.

I'll make another post like this in the future, but if you're trying to figure out why there's so much hype about spoken word, hopefully these videos get you into it. Enjoy, and of course, talk soon. xo

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