The Poetry Slam

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:

"The experimenters in this new style of poetry presentation gyrated, rotated, spewed, and stepped their words ... bellowing out the back door, standing on the street or on their stools, turning the west side of Chicago into a rainforest of dripping whispers or a blast furnace of fiery elongated syllables, phrases, snatches of scripts, and verse that electrified the night."

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