Winnipeg poets hit grand slam with unique work
Winnipeg poet Larysa Musick describes slam poetry as a “diving competition that meets a rap-off.”
Not events you compare to one another every day, but then again, slam poetry performances are not something you see every day.
Winnipeg has it’s very own Poetry Slam league and it began its 2018 regular season Wednesday. A new event takes place every third Wednesday of the month at The Handsome Daughter Restaurant, before the finals take place in June.
This medium sees poets hit the stage and let loose with their original work. Energy is greatly encouraged.
“They can do whatever they want,” Musick said. “They can rap, sing, stomp their feet.”
Just don’t go over the time limit of three minutes or there will be a score deduction. That’s one of the few rules you must follow during what is called a “bout”. A random group of five judges is selected from the audience and they rate each poem out of 10.
“We see such a range, people will speak about social issues, political issues, it’s really edgy sometimes, but that’s OK,” Musick said.
The local winners then move on to the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word.
Winnipeg poet Kier Mailan has been to the national event before, and has been a part of many slam performances, having done it since he was 12.
“I was just writing poems and reciting it to myself very dramatically and passionately,” Mailan said. “I discovered slam poetry around the same time and it was similar to what I was doing. Yelling poems in my room.”
Now 11 years later, the 23-year-old Mailan soaks in every moment on stage in what he calls a comfortable and accepting environment.
“If it resonates with you and is close with you, naturally you’ll perform it better,” says Mailan. “When you’re on stage, you’re doing something for yourself, and this environment is very good for that.”
An atmosphere which Musick says gave her confidence.
“I was such a hermit when I was 16. When I came to poetry slam, I gained this new confidence to be up there and to share something that was so personal, and to have people surrounding me saying that was great,” Musick said. “It’s a great boost as an individual and a way to connect with other people.”
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