I’ll be straight to the point, the nature of the slam poetry is heavily influenced by American poetry, and no doubt about that, slam poetry was born in America. My problem is that we usually do not get to see other flavors. What’s the most popular flavor of spoken word poetry? Mental awareness. Before you start cursing me, let be absolutely clear on my stand on mental illnesses. They are real. I have a close cousin who has OCD, and I know what he’s battling through. I made him perform his first poem about it in an open mic in the city.
The problem ( at least it is for me ), is that slam poetry about mental health exaggerates things so much. These were not my words, these words were my cousin’s, which was all the more surprising to me at first. But when I really thought about it, saw more slam poems, I realized some sense in his argument. Again a disclaimer, no disrespect to either the art form or the people who’ve battled with mental problems or clinical disorders, depression, OCD, eating disorder, bipolar disorder etc. Just an urge that requests the artists to keep it real, necessary and true to their experiences.
Perhaps I’m getting it all wrong, perhaps universally Americal slam poets just have a loud voice and thought process. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it doesn’t feel that way.
An example of slam poem which really feels true to the mapping of its experiences is this one, and this one. Performed by the slam artists of Nepal Word Warriors andCecilia Abraham respectively. Perhaps this is because my experiences are very close to theirs, the setting, the background, cultural and geographical closeness, financial background of the countries and the average people in it.
But still, after rolling over all the possibilities, I still feel the truth mapping with experiences’ slam poetry is still hiding somewhere. It needs to come out. That will happen only if we bring more people who have had these kind of experiences.