Symptoms of a civilization in decline: ‘Slam poetry: a celebration in diversity’

A poetry slam in Cardiff, Wales. Photograph: Hannah Waldram/

On weekday evenings in starkly lit rooms, people come to turn their hearts out from their sleeves. They come from penthouse apartments and their friends’s basements, they come young and old and male and female and in love and in pain, but they come. Sometimes they pay. They take the microphone in turn, and the room falls silent for each individual’s story.

This is the reality of spoken word poetry, but it only scratches the surface of how spoken word poems are created.

“Poetry” itself is quite a vague concept; it is generally defined as occupying the space between speech and song, although it can be difficult to distinguish between the three. Some take the form of audiobooks, of monologues, of letters, of confessions or rants.

As a poet myself, my work expresses my identity because I draw on my own experiences. Race, gender, nationality, sexuality – performance poets speak about how they define themselves and about how society defines them, by using new and creative contexts to express themselves…

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If it involves “diversity” it must be some kind of “art” according to the idiots at The Guardian.