Harold Bloom called slam poetry “the death of art” and “cant and nonsense” in an interview with the Paris Review. I’d link to it, but the PR seems to have removed it.
I just came back from my first full-on poetry slam (at the Pipeline Cafe in downtown Honolulu) and I confess myself impressed. Slam isn’t an ideal art form, and I’m not sure if I personally click with the slam scene, but nonsense, cant, and a threat to Western civilization it certainly is not. Bloom is being a book snob as usual. I’d go on about how judging texts aesthetically without contextualizing them in society is crazy, but it’s late out and I have a letter to Michael Jackson brewing in my head.
In short: I feel kind of awkward in the slam crowd, I don’t feel everything they’ve got to say, but the medium itself is really interesting – and it calls to my skill set. A decade and a half of saxophone lends an ear for rhythm. Free ranging in libraries, across keyboards, and across pages of newsprint and printer paper have lent me a inchoate erudition and an audial sense for language. And I’m a ham when I want to be.
Let’s try this. Anybody know any spoken word/poetry slam outlets at or near UCLA?