Slam Poetry- A link between black feminism and oral poetry traditions

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George, Anna

Slam poetry is a recently emerged genre in the West that has gained critical and popular attention during the last three decades. Today, universities and poetry groups across the world have slam poetry competitions. Africa and African black population has a rich tradition, especially in oral poetry though it was shunned away as a less evolved and less sophisticated genre by modern literary circles. When slam poetry, a performance oriented oral poetry gathers momentum, it is worthwhile investigating, how this new style of poetry, that is far different to canonical forms, connects the contemporary literature back to oral poetry tradition among Blacks. The project investigates and establishes such connections of slam poetry to oral poetry. Black females were the doubly oppressed minorities whose voices were strangled in throats by the colonial patriarchal society for ages since they were not given the freedom to speak out their minds first because they were women and they were Blacks. Yet, they found spaces for the ideas in performance poetry through others who spoke for them and the poets they inspired and later through genres like slam they are successful in voicing the centuries old sufferings of Black women. The Black poets who got international critical attention were mostly from America and it was only towards twentieth century that we have Africans writing about Africa. The project probes the published Black women’s literature and how much justice they could give and compares it with the slam poetry of young Black women. Books, journals, YouTube videos and lectures are used as material for the paper.

African culture, Africa, Black women, oral poetry, slam, poetry
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