Workshop and Slam Poetry Competition (Japan)

You're standing on a stage and you have nothing but the spoken word, your voice, expressions and gestures. Slammers are the coffee house literati of today, but they are as different from the originals as a Lamborghini is from the Viennese horse-drawn carriage, the "fiaker".
The inventor of this "young poetry" is the performance poet Marc Kelly Smith from Chicago, who got fed up some time in the 1980s with readings at a marble table accompanied by a glass of water. Slam is exciting and cool, expressive and sensitive, funny and serious. The audience is part of the performance because, as the jury, it determines with its applause or by awarding points which of the poetry gladiators will win.

Slam poetry is a performance of voice and body. It spotlights language, not only as a conveyor of meaning, but primarily as sound, as a tonal and rhythmic composition. Not an inappropriate art form then to promote multilingualism in a country where foreign languages are quite a long way away. Five European cultural institutes and the International House therefore conducted the first international Slam Poetry Competition on 16 May 2009 in Osaka. Since there is also a small slam scene in Osaka, the outcome was in fact – as the organisers intend for this annual event – a "Japanese-European cultural exchange".
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