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a story

A Story

A new friend told me a story that got me thinking about performance poetry, and people making a living from it.

When he heard that I was a slammer, he sounded knowledgeable on it. It turned out he had been to one open mic and one slam (though didn't know enough to know the difference... lol).

I told him I was impressed because most friends don't go to slams unless I drag them, and asked if he was dragged. So he told me the story of how he was introduced to this.

He was at some festival fundraiser, where there were talents of many different mediums, and he described how a very cute brunette with a lot of energy got up on stage (who happens to be a big local slam star) and did this thing.... he had no idea what she was doing. He explained the feeling when he realized that it rhymed, sorta, and it suddenly dawned on him that she was doing a poem. He thought it was pretty neat, and spurned by the coolness factor and how cute she was, asked her where he could hear more.

A Challenge

I think one of the challenges that touring poets face is that mostly we do poetry for other poets, because it's poets who know it and get it. And their friends, because likely the friends have been dragged out some time and then decide that they like it and will keep coming back. Like Mike described in the first post, it's hard to get audience out to these things. There needs to be a lot of marketing, more so than when we feature at a poetry show.

Like, if he were a musician coming to town, the buzz would be greater, or people would just think, cool, music, and it's free. I should go.

So part of the challenge is educating people on what we do.

So far mostly their sources of information are the movies "8 Mile" and "So I Married An Axe Murderer" (I won't tell you how many times I've been asked if what I do is like those movies, *especially* the latter :P ) and in the U.S. you've got Def Poetry Jam on TV. (We should totally have something like that in Canada. But I digress.)

A Question

For the touring poets who want to feature at spots outside of poetry shows, where people may not know what performance poetry is, how can they educate audiences within the marketing? (Short of having a budget to create a film. :P ) Or should they even need to?


talking, community, poet
The Talking Poet

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March 2007

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