It was with some scepticism that I made my way into Sandy’s for the Inklight Poetry Slam, in conjunction with On The Rocks (OTR). My idea of a poetry slam featured hipsters with self-ripped flannels trying to “make art”, often going into very self-important monologues in the process. I also thought a ‘slam’ sounded potentially violent. To put it another way, I was very unsure as to what a poetry slam could do to be an open, inviting, and interesting atmosphere for aspiring poets and listeners alike, and I wasn’t sure if a slam would be so competitive that the event might lose its focus, if not “vibe”, altogether.
I was very surprised. Loren, the president of Inklight, kept things light and was careful to give each participant adequate time and a friendly, inviting atmosphere, in which to read. Reading poetry can be very personal, and very difficult, and the attitude of the Inklight committee as a whole, (some of whom featured as readers), made sure that the event didn’t become elitist, cliquey, or hurtful. In this honest atmosphere, set against the familiar backdrop of the Union, no one took themselves too seriously, and everyone’s poetry was appreciated for its submission, and presentation.
With poems ranging in length, a favourite of mine focusing on family ties and the outdoors, the event seemed to slip by quickly, again aided by the sociable and welcoming posture of the entire Inklight committee (I don’t know Inklight, or the committee, well enough to know precisely who was there, but whoever was there should be commended for ensuring that this event ran so well). The audience laughed, gasped, and was hopefully inspired by the writers so willing to share their writing, always at the appropriate moments. This undoubtedly led to the increased ease of the poets themselves.
These slam poetry events happen relatively often through Inklight, and given how well received and orchestrated this one was, I’m more than happy to go again, and, should I ever find myself in a poetic mood (unlikely, but you never know…), I’d be more than happy to read at one.