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Slam-bert poetry is on

By: Anna Borowiecki

  |  Posted: Saturday, Mar 08, 2014 06:00 am

OPEN MIKE – Slam Poetry at Bellerose is hosting an Open Mike Night on Tuesday, March 11 at the Second Cup on Bellerose Drive. The school has also invited all St. Albert schools to participate.
OPEN MIKE – Slam Poetry at Bellerose is hosting an Open Mike Night on Tuesday, March 11 at the Second Cup on Bellerose Drive. The school has also invited all St. Albert schools to participate.
APRIL BARTLETT/St. Albert Gazette

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Open Mike Night
Bellerose Slam Poetry Club
Tuesday, March 11 from 7 to 9 p.m.
Second Cup
19 Bellerose Drive

There is an antidote out there for anyone who battles poetry allergy. It’s called slam poetry.

Every performance poet discovers the electric power of words through the audience – its whispers and shouts, the moans and laugher, the anger at oppression and the nodding heads of romantic love and heartbreak.

This coming Tuesday, March 11 the Bellerose Slam Poetry Club embarks on an emotionally-charged adventure at Open Mike Night at the Second Cup on Bellerose Drive.

Slams are meant to be exhilarating and inspiring. A cocktail of artistic genres, it blends spoken word, poetry, hip-hop, standup and theatrical antics.

Based on last year’s success at the now defunct Arcadia Cafe, English teacher and slam organizer Karen May Healey predicts an evening of raw energy, tonal variations, searing emotion, some musicality and a hint of goofiness.

“It’s all about having a soapbox moment and talking about what matters to you,” says Healey. “We get the full range of emotions. Sometimes it’s heartbreak. Sometimes it’s celebration. It’s always a surprise and it changes every time.”

There was a time when teenagers paralleled learning a poem to a case of hives. However, Canadian champion slam poet Shane Koyczan, who appeared at the Arden Theatre in April 2012 and performed at the Vancouver Olympics, has flipped the art on its head and gilded it with an Oscar-worthy lustre.

Slam poetry competitions are a national tsunami spreading across the continent.

“One of slam poetry’s attractions is that you get to act, rave and complain and people listen. If you present it in a thoughtful way, it’s empowering for kids. It allows them to speak their thoughts and put distance to issues they have to deal with.”

Healey also believes there is a Dr. Phil quality to slam poetry.

“The other thing is it becomes an open point of discussion between kids and kids, kids and parents and teachers. Sometimes things in writing come out that you had no idea happened. It’s very cathartic.”

She has 12 poets confirmed, but expects more to pop out of the woodwork on event night. About a half dozen Paul Kane representatives will also put their skills to the test.

“It’s important to build camaraderie between schools and we want to build relationships with other area schools in the future.”

Healey is feeling so invigorated, she has promised to buy a hot chocolate for every student that stands up to slam.

“If a kid gets up in front of a microphone and speaks from his heart, the least he deserves is a hot chocolate,” she laughs.

The slam is a warmup for the St. Albert Public Library High School Poetry Event on Saturday, April 26.

Seating is limited at Second Cup and Healey suggests arriving much earlier than the 7 p.m. start time.


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