Spoken Poetry versus Slam

I’ve been trying to figure out the true definition of Slam Poetry.  How is it really different from poetry that is simply spoken aloud? I found a good distinction on the site Poetry in Voice:

“Recitation allows the audience to hear the author’s words and experience the poem. It does not involve performing the poem with large gestures, accents, or in the voice of a character. Rather, it is about sharing the experience of poetry with an audience by inhabiting the language and tone of the poem with the appropriate level of dramatization. The focus should be on the poem itself, not on the performer.

Hodari Davis, National Program Director for Brave New Voices / Youth Speaks, says, “Poetry Slam involves competition, performance and theater, and the poems are judged based on performance not necessary based on the writing. Additionally the poetry slam  involves performing pieces you have written or co-authored.””


2 thoughts on “Spoken Poetry versus Slam

    1. Yes, sometimes when I read poetry aloud it becomes more of a performance so I was wondering how that would differ. There are lots of opinions but I thought this one captured it best.


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