Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
Want more poems?
Subscribe to our
Poem-A-Day emails.
FURTHER READING
Poetry Documentaries
"The United States of Poetry": A Series by PBS
Donald Hall and Jane Kenyon: A Life Together
Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers
Frank Bidart, The Maker
Something Wonderful May Happen: A New York School Documentary
Voices & Visions: A PBS Series
Bukowski: Born into This
The Lannan Foundation Video Series
Related Prose
Slam: The Movie
Poetry Landmark: The Green Mill Cocktail Lounge in Chicago, IL
Poetry Slam, Inc.
Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry
A Brief Guide to Slam Poetry
Saul Williams: Dreadlocked Dervish of Words
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

Slamnation: A Poetry Slam Documentary

 

Slamnation: A Poetry Slam Documentary

Directed by Paul Devlin, Slamnation chronicles the competitors from the 1996 National Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon. The film follows the four-person teams representing twenty-six cities as they battle and strategize through preliminary rounds. Ultimately, the final four teams vie for glory and a bronze trophy of books and boxing gloves before a sold-out crowd of thousands at the Portland State Theater.

The documentary weaves together interviews, readings, home videos, and excerpts from events surrounding the competition, including a clumsy softball game, a contentious planning meeting, and an explanation of the history of slam by Mark Smith, filmed in its birthplace, the Green Mill Lounge in Chicago. The performers present a wide range of styles, including stand-out pieces by the hilarious Taylor Mali, Saul Williams, with his tongue-twisting alliteration, and a nervous Mums the Schemer captured before his stint as "Poet" on the HBO prison drama Oz.

Despite some ferocious moments between the poets, including a heated spat between Mark Smith and Bob Holman, it is clear they all hold deep respect for one another. They tease and fight in a way only family can, such as Taylor Mali's lampooning of his comrades in his exacting piece "I could be a poet." One sentiment echoed in several interviews, and evident throughout the film, is that the rivalry between competitors ultimately inspires them to create stronger work and more powerful performances.

Directed by Paul Devlin (1998). Not Rated.


Support independent booksellers
Make your purchase online through IndieBound or find a local bookstore on the National Poetry Map.




Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.