Kanye West, Jamie Foxx, Jill Scott, Jewel, Lou Reed, Dave Chappelle, and even Cedric the Entertainer have all appeared on Def Poetry Jam, record mogul Russell Simmons’ tribute to the art of the spoken word poetry, which is like rap without the track; it’s just an artist on a stage with his own words and his own rhythm. It’s freedom.
Like all great arts, someone found a way to organize, publicize, and legitimize spoken word poetry. Slams are competitive events where poets interpret their pieces for a live audience. Performances are scored by a panel of judges and a winner is chosen. However, at slams, unlike rap battles or bad basketball games, no one is made to feel inadequate. There are always beautiful words, plenty of applause, and respect is always given to each poet’s point-of-view.
In April, Bridge Builders Alabama will be partnering with the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts to offer a four-week art-infused po