Have you ever heard of slam poetry before? Last Saturday, I attended a “slam poetry contest” with some friends. In fact, on Saturday 02nd the IFM (French Institute of Madagascar) hosted a slam competition where young Malagasy slammers competed for a place to the “International slam poetry championship” which will take place in France. This competition was organized by the association of Malagasy slammers MADAGASLAM.
After the event, I met some members of MADAGASLAM and asked them more details about “slam poetry”. Here is the quick interview with GAB (member of MADAGASLAM)
BESORONGOLA: What is slam poetry?
GAB: Slam-poetry is a form of competitive performance poetry created by an American named Marc Smith in the beginning of the 80’s; it’s like an “open mic session” in which participants offer works no longer than three minutes and are judged by picked audience members. The poems are presented to the audience one after another by their authors
BESORONGOLA: What are the basic rules for poetry slam?
GAB: The poetry slam has two main rules:
– Each poem must be of the poet’s own construction;
– Each slammer gets three minutes to read his/her poem.
BESORONGOLA: Do I need to be a poet or a slammer to attend a poetry slam contest?
GAB: To attend a slam poetry contest, you must know the rules, you must have your own poem or text and you must be “fair play” (lol) PS: one of slam vision is to let people express what need to be expressed and to promote poetry outside the “academical system”, we want to allow the poem to jump from the page into people’s ears. In Madagascar, we have our own literature culture ( Kabary, Hain-teny,..) which can be promoted through slam poetry vision.
BESORONGOLA: Can you tell us more about MADAGASLAM? What is it exactly?
GAB: MADAGASLAM is an association which gathers the Malagasy slammers across Madagascar. Its president is Mômô. The goal of MADAGASLAM is to promote the slam movement in the country. It was created after a slam workshop in 2005 with the initiative of some young Malagasy poets and and a foreign slammer named Pilote. This workshop took place at the former CCAC which is known as IFM now.
BESORONGOLA: What advice do you have for young people who want to be poet slammer?
GAB: Advice? Come and you will see… of course we will never be Dox(a famous Malagasy poet),the main point is to be heard… to take part to the poetical talk show which can change Malagasy youth’s vision and habits… and it’s free! You can join us every first Saturday of the month at IFM and every second Saturday of the month at CGM Analakely. Please note also that, there are some irregular scenes or workshop that we organize in different places (schools, NGO…).