Despite the fact 80 cities have joined the national poetry slam competition and President Barack Obama threw an exclusive White House slam, the “originator” of the poetry slam is worried about the health of the genre.
Poet and slam founder Marc Kelly Smith told the NY Times: “Now there’s an audience, and people just want to write what the last guy wrote so they can get their face on TV … We’ve got too much of that. This show wasn’t started to crank out that kind of thing.”
In addition, the article rounds up other famous attacks against poetry slams. Harold Bloom once labeled the popular form “the death of art,” and poet Jonathan Galassi called it “kind of karaoke of the written word.” For supporters, the essay points to Susan B. A. Somers-Willett’s scholarly take on the genre, “The Cultural Politics of Slam Poetry.”