Poetry to cleanse the senses


[embed width="600" contenteditable="false"]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EILQTDBqhPA[/embed] When school overwhelms me and my senses, I try to clear my head with slam poetry. I know I've said this many times before, but listening to this poetry is reminiscent of comfort food. It feeds my soul and reminds me that I'm not alone.

"My mother taught me this trick," professional slam poet Phil Kaye said. "If you repeat something over and over again, it loses its meaning."

I'm currently taking a slam poetry class, and we learned about keys to performing orally, as well as the components of a powerful slam poem according to Marc Smith. Ever since I learned those keys, I've noticed many of them reflected in the work of my favorite slam poets. This includes Phil Kaye.

Reciting the words his mother shared with him, and explaining the events that took place in his childhood, Kaye engages his audience with a narrative. Marc Smith, who some consider to be the father of the slam poetry movement, believes that the most powerful poems employ a strong narrative.

The narrative in Kaye's poem? A story of loss, when his parents decided to separate. He believed that if he repeated the word "apart", or repeated the idea in his head, it would lose its meaning. It would seem as though the separation did not happen.

I have to admit that sometimes that effect happens with school. Stressing over an assignment can drag me to the point of indifference. Not good. But it happens. I digress.

When it feels like the world might go down in flames, or you just have too much to do, sit down with a slam poem. It may do you a great deal of good.

Reach the columnist at arabusa@asu.edu or on Twitter @marie_eo.

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