Religion & Beliefs

Poetry Slam for Peace

I used to hang out with a bunch of slam poets. They were much much cooler than me, as indicated by their rockin’ hair (this was before the era of Tamar with purple hair) clothes with chains, and one of … Read More

By / August 31, 2007

I used to hang out with a bunch of slam poets. They were much much cooler than me, as indicated by their rockin’ hair (this was before the era of Tamar with purple hair) clothes with chains, and one of them had a really big wooden hand carved walking stick that he carried around with him everywhere. I know that makes them all sound like tools, but in 1999 I thought they fuckin’ ROCKED.

I decided that I couldn’t be a slam poet because I wasn’t angry enough. I mean, I’m angry, but I’m more funny than angry most of the time. Anyway, my favorite thing about the slam poets was how they could just stand up and whip out a proverbial soapbox and people actually listened. I mean, at the time I was writing all kinds of short stories, and I guess some of them had some kind of social commentary (if, “I wish I had a boyfriend” counts as social commentary) but mostly I was just blathering. But slam poets—they had shit to say, and they said it LOUD and with GESTURES and people literally stopped in their tracks to listen to this group of teenagers rant about everything from health care to public transit. It was amazing, and almost always spiritual in some way. I bring it up because Jewlicious alerted me to this group called Sacred Slam Poetry, creators of the Middle East Poetry Project. Their mission, according to their website:

The Middle East Poetry Project is an artistic bridge made out of innovative technology and supported by the personal narrative and the aspiration to bear witness. Using video-conferencing technology, the Middle East Poetry Project will connect an American University to a Palestinian Cultural Center and an Israeli University. These connections will be the artistic bridges that carry real-time interactive poetic performances.

Our intention is to use poetic expression and celebration to:

  • Raise awareness of interconnectedness on a personal (i.e., the relationship between thoughts, emotions and actions), inter-personal and global level
  • Bear witness to the personal narrative
  • Dispel fear and misunderstanding
  • Realize the potential for reconciliation and peace

Pretty sweet, huh? Visit the Middle East Poetry Project website for info on where to donate, and how to bring it to your school or organization.