It all began at a jazz club in Chicago in 1985. Marc Smith had an idea. Known as slampapi, this construction worker and poet started a poetry reading series. That performance poetry was a hit! In 1986, the owner of the Green Mill (another jazz club) agreed to host a weekly poetry cabaret on Sunday nights. Marc Smith's Uptown Poetry Slam was a success!
Smith's poetry slam featured music and drama, poetry, and audience interaction. According to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Slam Poetry: