Poetry Slams and the International Competition

Poetry Slam Competition

Poetry Slam Competition

Every year the art and poetry world gets together to watch the iWPS or Individual World Poetry Slam Competition, bringing the worlds artists together to watch 72 poets from around the world to compete in the art of spoken word. Competitive art, you ask?

Yes. Slam poetry is based in competition. It all started in Chicago in 1984 as an event at the Get Me High Lounge. The concept was quickly adopted by the New York City art scene, but the first national poetry slam was held in San Francisco and included both teams and individual poets. The format varies but often involves judges being chosen from the audience to rate poets on a one to ten scale.

The iWPS is a three day competition and one of three main competitions held by Slam Poetry, Inc. There are 72 competitors and one winner. The competition is important to the hosting city, workshops and various poetry related events are held. Some of the more obscure of these poetry events are theme based slams like queer, women, erotic, or even nerd slams.

Slams are not immune to criticisms. Some slams are explicitly judged by audience applause while the others are indirectly judged by audience favor. So, many critics argue, the poet is forced to conform art to please an audience like a reality show. Moreover, competition in general tends to be avoided by many artists, and poets are often the more eclectic of artists.




The State of Poetry

reading poetry

Anything article you read on poetry today seems to touch on what is seen as the elephant in the room, is it dead? The fact that any conversation surrounding it must eventually end up on the question of poetry’s mortality, or whether it has been replaced by another medium like rap, does not bode well for the it.

A recent post by Jennifer Schuessler in the New York Times asks the ”Is Poetry Dead?” question. The article goes on to say 45 states and even some cities have official poet laureates, arguing essentially that the existence of poets and poetry means that it still exists, but is existence, life? Sure, in the literal definition.

The question of whether social media is the culprit and the reason for its slow, diminishing relevance is another question that needs to be answered. Social media seems to be the go-to root of any problem that exists in our society. Such cynicism is not productive and is certainly not going to rid the world of it. Social media is enhanced communication, and should be a platform for poetry. Juan Felipe Herrera, California’s poet laureate, has utilized the platform to promote, “The Most Incredible and Biggest Poem On Unity in the World”. A poem by Juan Felipe Herrera is included below.

Perhaps the most interesting of arguments of its transformation comes less from proponents of poetry and more from the defenders of rap music. But aside from a few non-mainstream artists it’s difficult to call that poetry or even music for that matter. But that rare instance where the lyrics are provocative, thoughtful, and encourage change, poetry would be lucky to have the comparison.

Is it poetry dead? Surely not. Here is a poem for you:

“In the Cannery the Porpoise Soul


In the cannery the porpoise soul
& the shadow fins of spirit boats lie awake
the hundred hooks & flying reels
one harpoon
& the silver fleshing in the nets
the mayor is waiting/counting scales
dreaming new quotas & tuna coasts
(under the table blood & payrolls
swim to the shores on a crucifix of oil)
in the cannery the porpoise soul
steals a dagger for the engines throat
tuna fins etch an X
on the green stone of the ships floor
there are documents with worker sweat
files & rolled sleeve salt
a spear of sails & anchor years
inside the shoulders & against the ropes
a policy gunned the waves back
before the porpoise sea was born”



Dr. Jerry Hankins Poetry Website Preview Video

Dr. Jerry Hankins – Poetry – Website Preview por drjerryhankins

Poetry Out Loud – Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Poetry Blog

Poetry Out Loud

Dr. Jerry Hankins Poetry Blog

Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Poetry Blog

On Thursday, March 20, a Bellows Free Academy student named Sam Boudreau received top honors at the Vermont 2014 Poetry Out Loud Finals.  The high school junior from St. Albans, Vermont competed against 40 other students from across the state.  For the competition, Bordeau recited “Request for Toy Piano,” by Tony Hoagland, “The Empty Dance Shoes,” by Cornelius Eady, and Walt Whitman’s “I Hear America singing.”

Bordeau will receive $200 as well as an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. where he will represent Vermont in at the National Finals on April 29 and 30.  Bellows Free Academy will also receive a $500 stipend to be used to purchase poetry books for the school.

Champions from every state, the District of Colombia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands will be competing for $50,000 worth of scholarship awards and school stipends, including a $20,000 college scholarship, at the National Finals.  Judges will evaluate each of the 53 performances.  Scoring of the performances will be based on physical presence, articulation, demonstrated understanding of the material, level of difficulty, and accuracy.

Approximately 5,000 Vermont high school students participated in the Poetry Out Loud program around the state this year.  The National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation created the Poetry Out Loud program, which just completed its ninth year in Vermont.  The program continues to inspire high school students across the nation by urging them to discover the worlds inside classic and contemporary poetry.  Mimicking the recent slam poetry movement, the Poetry Out loud program works to build interest in poetry as an oral art form.

For more information about the Vermont 2014 Poetry Out Loud competition please visit http://vtdigger.org/2014/03/25/vermont-2014-poetry-loud-state-champion-announced/.

A Closer Look at Poetry – Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog

A Closer Look at Dr. Jerry Hankins

The importance of Poetry is definitely worth considering. Luckily. there are many great resources online to help discover more information about its importance. One one of these resources is Poetry.org. The introductory paragraph on Poetry.org states:

“Poetry.org is a resource site for poetry and poets. Here you can learn about thhistory, meaning, and types of poetry, as well as terms often used when reading and studying poetry. There is also the resource page: a series of links to various poetry sites for daily poetry, poetry organizations, poet biographies, and more. And there is our selection of poetry from various famous poets, including William ShakespeareRobert FrostEmily Dickinson, and e e cummings.”

The website notes that they do not any affiliation to the Poetry Foundation. 

One of the resources of the website is an explanation of what Poetry is- a definition of sorts. A long description on the history of poetry is also provided. The various types of Poetry are discussed as well. Some of these types of Poetry are more well known than others. Many would recognize the terms Concrete Poetry or Limeriks, but how about Minnesinger or Parnassian?

Information about Parnassianism can be found by clicking here.

Another great feature about the website is their list of famous poets. Clicking on the name of a poet will bring you to a page with a sample of their poetry as well as a link to their full biography. Lastly, a link section on the website, can connect you with a number of other great resources related to Poetry. If Poetry interest a person, but they don’t know a lot about what it encompasses, Poetry.org may be a great place to start. View some of Dr. Jerry Hankins’ work by exploring his own site.




Why Poetry Is So Important – Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog Page

Dr. Jerry Hankins Poetry Blog

Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Poetry Blog

While you may not be able to remember many names of the poems you read in school, you can at least remembering reading poetry at some point between kindergarten and high school graduation.  In a world where math and science skills are in high demand, it’s easy to forget the important role poetry plays in education.

Poetry helps children want to create something.  There is an apparent rhythm and beat to most poetry and, while this rhythm might not be as musical as children are used to, they will recognize it and are likely to become intrigued by it.  They will start to question the rhyme and syntax and structure and why certain patterns fall the way they do.  At this point, writing becomes less like literal written words on a page, and more like an art form that is appealing to children who have never dealt with poetry before.  Even if children do not understand all of the words in a piece or the meaning of a poem, they will still start to analyze the structure of it.

While often thought of as something associated with literature or poetry, critical analysis is an extremely important skill to have even for basic writing and editing purposes.  There should always be some sort of flow to a piece of writing.  While the structure of different texts or papers is bound to vary, poetry can help children realize that an absence of some sort of textual structure—even a structure that is intended to break the rules of grammar and punctuation—takes away from a piece of writing.  Honing critical analysis skills through exposure to poetry will increase children’s future abilities to read critically, edit, and ultimately develop their own overall voice and writing style.

Writing also helps children share their ideas.  Poetry lets people express themselves individually while simultaneously realizing that they are part of a bigger community.  Children, especially ones who may have experienced something negative at a young age, need to be able to express themselves, share their feelings, and hear other peoples’ stories as well. In a similar way, if a child is overjoyed, he or she should be able to find a way to communicate that as well.  A few lines in a poem can completely change the way a person looks at an experience.  Because of this, poetry is often seen as something that promotes learning and personal growth.

Ultimately, poetry creates a space for speaking and listening.  It can be used as an outlet for overwhelming emotions, as an aid to children on the path of self-discovery, or act as a learning tool for enhancing academic skills.  Poetry can help children introduce themselves to their classmates, explain a feeling, share a story.  Math, science, and general writing skills are important, but poetry needs to have its place in schools as well because it gives a form of personal expression to children and helps them to better understand the different people and  events in world around them.

About The Poetry Foundation

Dr. Jerry Hankins - Blog Image

Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog

Poetry is an important part of history. There is a website called the Poetry Foundation which works to keep poetry in today’s society and for its importance to be recognized. The website is very comprehensive in that it provides a number of poems for enjoying, special resources, programs, and so forth. When you are browsing the poems you can view specific catagories. This means you can browse by subject such as nature or love or you can browse by the period when it was written and so forth. There are a lot of great options for exploring the website’s directory of poems. The poetry direction is iPhone and iPad compatible for those times when you are out and about and need some quick inspiration. The Poetry foundation is the publisher of a magazine dedicated to Poetry, which is simply called Poetry. The website also allows you to get in touch with the organization or subscribe to the official Newsletter. You can also connect with the Poetry foundation on their Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr pages. The Poetry Foundation even has an official app available. The Poetry Foundation is based out of Chicago. For more information on The Poetry Foundation be sure to check out their official website at http://poetryfoundation.org. For more information on Dr. Jerry Hankins, please visit the remainder of this website or one of his other sites that can be accessed via the link section.

Dr. Jerry Hankins – An Overview of Poetry

This is the blog for Dr. Jerry Hankins on his Poetry website.

Dr. Jerry Hankins’ Blog.

Poetry is a very fascinating in that it has a rich history and can have many literary qualities. When one is studying the “meter, rhythm, and intonation” of a poem it is called prosody. There are a number of different genres in poetry as well. If one were to tell a story through their poetry, it could be considered narrative poetry. Chaucer and Edgar Allen Poe are two well-known examples of poets who wrote narrative poetry. Epic poetry can be seen as an extension of this as it can appear very narrative in quality. A famous example of this would be the Epic of Gilgamesh. Dramatic poetry has roots back to Greek tragedy. Verse fables also dates back to antiquity. Aesop is very famous for his fables. An interesting type of poetry is speculative poetry- it can have some horror or science fiction themes. This is the type of poetry Edgar Allen Poe is best known for. For more information about poetry please visit Poetry.org or go back to the main homepage for Dr. Jerry Hankins Poetry site.