Slamnation

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the mouth's got them both beat in this exciting look at the latest in literary blood sport: the poetry slam. At the intersection of spoken-word performance, revival-meeting evangelism, troubadour poetry and stand-up comedy lies the arena of the "slam," an organized contest in which poets compete against one another...read more

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Reviewed by Ken Fox
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The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the mouth's got them both beat in this exciting look at the latest in literary blood sport: the poetry slam. At the intersection of spoken-word performance, revival-meeting evangelism, troubadour poetry and

stand-up comedy lies the arena of the "slam," an organized contest in which poets compete against one another for points in front of a panel of judges selected from the audience. The Super Bowl of verbal derring-do is the annual National Poetry Slam, in which competing four-poet teams from various

North American cities assemble for four days of preliminaries, semifinals, and a climatic final slam in which the two top-rated teams have at it. In 1997, filmmaker Paul Devlin (who won two Emmy Awards for his coverage of the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics) followed the seemingly unstoppable Team

New York -- poets Saul Williams, Jessica Care Moore, Beau Sia and mums the Schemer -- to Portland, OR, to cover the grand slam, and his documentary about the event is a fast-paced and hugely entertaining cross between a literary HOOP DREAMS and THE WAR ROOM, complete with Machiavellian

strategizing, personal animosities and, above all, some truly electrifying language. The featured players include recently dismissed Boston Globe journalist Patricia Smith, the wife of Boston SlamMaster Michael Brown and herself a poet who apparently allowed her creative impulses to get the

better of her journalistic ethics when she admitted to fabricating quotes and characters in her award-winning newspaper column.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: The pen may be mightier than the sword, but the mouth's got them both beat in this exciting look at the latest in literary blood sport: the poetry slam. At the intersection of spoken-word performance, revival-meeting evangelism, troubadour poetry and stan… (more)

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