Writing a slam poem is all about releasing whatever is clogging up the river of thoughts you have and letting the words flow in a torrent--and then afterwards you sift through what is left on the page--get rid of the fat, keep the stood and sound, and add flavor to this outpouring of words my rephrasing sentences, adding images and actions, twists on thoughts, similes and metaphors, parallelism, etc to help make each line stand out. Each line becomes a breath--and you don't need a full sentence in each breath. Imagine yourself performing your poem "as" you write. Add humor, seriousness, and silliness whenever and wherever you feel it helps.
Watch the video. It is a bit over the top, but the author makes some excellent points.
There are as many ways to start a slam poem as there are people, but here are a couple of idea to help get you started.
- A What Bugs Me poem: make a list of things that bug you and then go back and add images and actions and thoughts your list--and try to tell a story just as if you were telling your friends.
- Do You Know Who I Am? poem: All of us are way more complicated than people think we are, so this style of poem is always a dependable way to get out in words the depth and breadth of who you are. A lot of these poems take on the "I am from...[add images and actions and thoughts]" style with most stanzas starting out with the same phrase.
- Remembering a Distant Memory poem: Sometimes it takes us a long time to actually appreciate a distant memory (or memories) in a profound way. In this poem it is often effective to tell the story of your memory and then show and tell your audience what it means to you--and to them.
Work on your poem in Google Docs or on Quip. Just be sure to share with me.