SlamNation

Slamnation - Lisa King - "Lost Friends"

Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
Lisa King performs her poem "Lost Friends" from Paul Devlin’s SlamNation.
 

Slam Poetry melds the art of writing and the art of performance in the context of a good old fashion brawl.  SlamNation  is the seminal film of this literary movement.
 

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Slamnation - "Children of the Night"

Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
Enjoy Saul Williams as he performs his poem "Children of the Night". This and much more is featured on SlamNation.
 


Slam Poetry melds the art of writing and the art of performance in the context of a good old fashion brawl.
 

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SLAMNATION MINI DOC

Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
This outtake from SlamNation takes place at the Slammaster’s meeting at the Portland National Poetry Slam in 1996. These used to be completely democratic meetings, that anyone competing in the National Poetry Slam could participate and vote in.

The quality is rough and the original is lost, but this mini-doc captures a turning point in the poetry slam movement: the birth of the non-profit organization Poetry Slam Inc (PSi). The piece shows that the organization was born out of the fear that some big corporation would trademark the phrase “Poetry Slam” and block the poets from using it for their events. (The reality of copyright law is that “Poetry Slam” had already become part of the common language and could no longer be trademarked for performance poetry events. So the fear was unfounded, and no one, not even PSi, owns the phrase “Poetry Slam.”
)
 


For those who have the context and know the players, this is a study of subtle power plays. Participating in the early slam poetry movement was a profound, close-up lesson in politics. The stakes may be lower, but I’m convinced the dynamics are similar to any government or big corporation.

This is the beginning of the end of what I found most fascinating about the ad-hoc national community of slam poetry – that grass-roots anarchy which managed to generate spectacular events like the National Poetry Slam. When Poetry Slam, Inc. became an official non-profit and started referring to by-laws instead of family at meetings like this, something magical about the movement was sacrificed.
 

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

Slammin' Becomes SlamNation

Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
I had completed my television pilot shot, Slammin’, shot at New York City’s Nuyorican Poets Café, and was shopping it to TV as a series. By then I was hooked into slam poetry in a big way. So in the summer of 1995 I went on a pilgrimage of sorts to Ann Arbor where the National Poetry Slam was happening that year.

There I met the movement’s founder Marc Smith. Man, did he give me the evil eye! He did not trust television people and he was very wary of someone appropriating and perverting the great thing that he had started. He also did not like the fact that Slammin’  was centered in New York, a place he was naturally suspicious of, being from Chicago.
 

 
So he and poets Gary Glazner and Allan Wolf sat me down, and explained their vision of where slam poetry should go and their reservations about putting it on television. I listened carefully and their interest in maintaining the integrity of the movement and keeping it inclusive to represent the diversity of slam poetry across the entire country had resonance. This meeting is the seed that germinated into SlamNation. Eventually I became good friends with all of them and part of the community myself.
 

SlamNation DVD 
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SlamNation - Saul Williams Interview: Part 3

 
Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
Part 3, Saul Williams on the influence of hip hop on poetry.
 


These series of poignant moments with Saul Williams were captured by our dear friend Gabrielle Bouliane, poet and filmmaker, who recently lost her battle with cancer.  Originally intended as DVD extras for SlamNation, we offer them now as a tribute to the talent of both Gabrielle and Saul.
 

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation - Saul Williams Interview: Part 2

 
Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
Part 2, Saul Williams on the influence of hip hop on poetry.
 


These series of poignant moments with Saul Williams were captured by our dear friend Gabrielle Bouliane, poet and filmmaker, who recently lost her battle with cancer.  Originally intended as DVD extras for SlamNation, we offer them now as a tribute to the talent of both Gabrielle and Saul.
 

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation - Saul Williams Interview: Part 1

Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
Part 1, Saul Williams on the influence of hip hop on poetry.
 


These series of poignant moments with Saul Williams were captured by our dear friend Gabrielle Bouliane, poet and filmmaker, who recently lost her battle with cancer.  Originally intended as DVD extras for SlamNation, we offer them now as a tribute to the talent of both Gabrielle and Saul.
 

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation - Patricia Smith Jukebox

Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
Patricia Smith is a master of the persona poem, taking on the voice of a character in order to give us insight into their story.
 
 
Here is the complete performance from a poem excerpted in SlamNation.
 

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation - Jerry Quickley - "Door Broken"

Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
A young Jerry Quickley gives great energy in this hilarious outtake from SlamNation.
 
 
He went on to become one of the foremost performance poets in Los Angeles.
 

SlamNation DVD 
SlamNation Trailer

SlamNation - "Words Don't Fit in My Mouth"

Posted by Paul Devlin:
 
Jessica Care Moore delivers a poetic mouthful in this outtake from SlamNation.
 


 

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