Monday, March 19, 2007

Our First Poetry Slam?

Remember how I told you I was not going to organise "readings" at Seksan's this month 'cos there would be so much going on for the KL Litfest? Well, it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind!

There's nothing else going on Saturday 31st, and many of you will miss the Litfest events because they are being held during the week and many of you are working. Besides I don't know about you but it is already feeling like a long time since our last afternoon at Seksan's ... and I'm getting withdrawal symptoms!

Chris Mooney Singh who organises Singapore's monthly poetry slam gigs with WordForward is coming up for the Litfest and is scheduled for a couple appearances, one on the Thursday (29th) afternoon, one on the Friday morning (30th), with the group of performance poets and he's bringing with him.

But there is no space on the programme for a proper poetry slam, so Chris asked those of us who organise Live Lit events in KL for help. I felt it was too good an opportunity to miss!

We've never had a proper slam before in KL - our performance poetry scene is fairly new, but the talent and the enthusiasm is there - and now we get a chance to see how we fare in a competitive environment. And also to see if poetry slams work for us and we want to organise more of them.

How does a slam work? Chris describes it as an open mic gently contesting in the name of Poetry. He will be hosting the event with US Slam legend Ray McNiece and promises they will both be as entertaining and off the wall as possible.

Actor-musician Ray McNiece has been a full time performance poet and workshop facilitator for 20 years and has traveled widely and performed with some truly great names such as Robert Bly, Ferlingetti and Yevtushenko the greatest living Russian poet with whom he toured Russia a few years ago.

Chris says:
Some helpful Slam adages: ‘The points are not the point, the point is poetry’ and ‘The best poet never wins’. The Slam has a lot of entertainment value and traditionally draws good crowds especially non-poets who are curious to see poetry as sport. We see the Slam as part of the performance poetry package in a literary scene and every event we hold in Singapore has a mixture of traditional open mic, features, music, dance items, theatre pieces multi-media etc along with a Slam.
Okay, to make this event work, first we need some confident poets who can stand-up and perform their work, and who will not have their egos shattered totally if they don't win! If you are brave enough to compete, please get in touch with me by e-mail sbakar at streamyx dot com. Preference will be given to those who have read at other open mic gigs or have taken part in the poetry workshops organised by British Council.

We also hope to have one or two Singaporean poets taking part ... but this is not a cross-causeway battle!

Each poet needs to have 3 original poems ready. Using a script is fine, but as Chris says, memorization does impress more wherever possible. Each poem should be no longer than 3 minutes or points are deducted. There are 3 rounds.

We will have a team of five judges (who they will be is to be decided). Poets are scored from 1-10 with or without decimals eg 1.1, 9.9 or whole numbers. No props, costumes or musical instruments are used.

Oh yes, and there will be prizes in the form of cash and book vouchers! And if any organisation out there (and hey, I know the bookshop folks and publishers read this blog!) and would like to add some more prizes and have your name up on the publicity, please get in touch.

I will be screaming out to ask certain individuals with some logistical help. And can anyone suggest some reasonably priced accomodation in KL for Chris and his team who are not receiving any sponsorship?

We will revert to out usual "readings" format for April's event and I already have some great names lined up.


Tunku Halim said...

So cool. I'd like to dig out some of my old ones and put them to the mic.

Delivery is as important as the words presumably!

bibliobibuli said...

delivery most important. are you going to be around for this??

Kenny Mah said...

Just read your comments on my blog, and I say aye to a poster! Email me a brief of what you want and the details (venue, time, date, etc.) and I'll get on to it in any spare time I have.

I've one more website design to finish, another promo poster, then I'm all yours! ;)

Oh yeah, and let me know if you have a deadline for the poster too. Thanks.

bibliobibuli said...

thanks kenny! only if you have time though ...

will send you the details as soon as i can. just need to see about my sponsorship.