Poetry Slam – A Lesson

This post was originally published in 2012. The tips and techniques explained may be outdated.

by Matthias Gaßmann (guest post), , 0 Comments

Friday, early evening. The parking lot at the train station in Eschwege was nearly empty. Instead of cars, a few were actually still parked there and would soon be integrated into the makeshift stage. I found benches for sitting, a microphone and an amplification system. The tension mounts, my very first poetry-slam event was about to begin.

I had heard and read about these events before. Last year, a slam was even organized in the ’Cantus-Bahn’ trains. I had also read something on the Internet about Sebastian 23 and Marc Uwe Kling. These reoccurring events, hosted by the “Schlüsselblume e.V.”, were something I had been aware of, but had never experienced live.

Student in Poetry Competition

On this evening, the first school championship poetry-slam of north Hessen took place. Less than a week earlier, Marvin took part in the respective workshop. Just last Tuesday, he and Alias qualified for this final championship round.

poetry

The public enjoys the Poetry-Slam.

Since the beginning of the year, Felix Römer and Dominique Macri have traveled to schools in Battenberg, Eschwege, Felsberg, Frankenberg, Kassel and Melsungen to encourage 11th graders to take part in a 2-day workshop and gain insight into this art form. And here were the 14 finalists who had the courage to speak openly about personal issues on stage, such as friendship, love, teachers, fears, integration, politics and the struggles of daily life. Issues not even their parents knew about were spoken about using any and all literary devices at their disposal.

And the winner is…
poetry

Felix Römer (l.) congratulates the winner Marvin Gaßmann

The order of the presentations was decided by a member of the audience, selected at random shortly beforehand. This selection process was also employed to choose the 7 jury members. The rest of the audience could show like or dislike for a poet by applauding. Whether or not their applause influenced the jury members is unknown.
Following 3 hours of competition (including a short break), the results were in. In the end, only 1 point separated the winner, Marvin Gaßmann, and the first runner up, Surya Biede, which kept the suspense going throughout the whole evening.
Summary: interesting perspectives coupled with suspenseful scoring. Fantastic musical accompaniment added energy to the poetic pros. Overall, an exciting evening!

And here’s what’s next

The majority of the participants will meet again on September 29-30 at Hessenslam 2012 in Gießen. The region of North Hesse will be represented by Marvin. As he struggles with stage fright, the rest of the participants can relax in their seats with the rest of the audience. I’m excited to see if one of the old finalists from Eschwege will randomly be selected as the audience representative or as a jury member. 😉

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