Poetry Slam: Paperless Poetry

Poetry follows humanity and grows with it since we first knew how to put our own words on paper. There are records since the troubadours until Modern times, and today poets are all around the world writing in their own ways, following their own rules just to keep the poetry’s legacy alive.

In 1980, a particular way of poetry was created in Chicago, and then came to Brazil in the 2000’s. Poetry Slam is a contest in which every poem is spoken by it’s author. Every participant has 3 minutes to present their own poetry to the crowd, who happens to be the judges. Poets defend their texts talking or even shouting them out. The Slams – how the battles are called – take place in the streets of the town and the winner is chosen based on the poetry content and in the participant’s performance. It has already taken place in over 500 communities all over the world. 

The main idea of the contest is to emit and transmit participant's feelings about a certain topic. Poetry Slam participants believe that everyone is able to vocalize their opinion through the art of poetry. Nowadays, tournaments happen all around the world and, here in Brazil, the Slams involve all the community. Poets are fighting against the barriers of society, politics and economic problems.

Screaming a poetry show more emotion then just writing it, shows the type of reaction the slammer try to make the crowd feel. That is why the contests take place on the streets, where everyone can watch the battle and choose the best poem. In Poetry Slam, there is a special place to women, a festival called Women of the World Poetry Slam (WOWps), where only girls can participate ante battle against each other, to give the crown to the best poem.

Here in Brazil, there is a group called Slam Resistência that organizes the slams, where amazing women present beautiful poems about feminism and rape culture, showing that fighting against those society problems can be more cultural then most people believe. There are poems that talk about the problems women have to deal every day when walking in streets and the big ones that black women feel on their skin just because of their color and gender.

Female slammers put into words all the women’s fears and indignation to show people that it’s not just because we are girls and socially “fragile” that we need to agree with the whistles and the things we hear every time we leave home without a man. 

Here are some of them (the videos are in portuguese):

Jade Fanny – November/2016 winner

The poem she was declaring was about feminism and shuts down some feminist’s speeches that are not really truth, more further, she asks to men until which point they are willing to go to violate a woman.

Larissa Marques – December/2016

Her poem was about respecting women, feminism and the truth around what men need to learn from us.

Pam Espertina - May/2015

Her poem talks about disappointments, about broken hearts, about how a single word can hurt like a bullet and how a woman can get over a abusive relationship.

Article: Pamela Malva

Edition: Isabelle Caldeira