Kimberly Simms' recent TEDX Talk Transcript

Like Ted Talks, Poetry Slam has a strong connection to creating an open forum for ideas worth spreading. Poetry Slam today provides a safe space where people - not only of diverse racial backgrounds - but people from different age groups, varying socioeconomic backgrounds, poets with only a high school diploma - all the way on up to a doctorate can come together on an even playing field!

Anyone can sign up on a given night to participate in a poetry slam for the low cost of only $5! There is no audition. It doesn’t matter who you know. It doesn’t matter if it is your first slam or your tenth slam. All are welcome.

Poetry Slam is a platform for both emerging poets as well as veteran performers. Where else can a newbie share the stage with their poetic heroes?

Often the perception of a poetry slam is that it caters only to marginalized voices, but in fact, Poetry Slam continues to be one of the most diverse art forms in america today with voices from both the mainstream and the marginalized - together on one stage - and in one audience.

This democratic model creates an open discursive space where anyone can feel heard.
The poetry slam is a sounding board. It is a soap box. It is free therapy.

Over the years, we’ve had poets from all walks of life:
Employees of Walmart, Michilin, and BMW. Students of Greenville Tech, Clemson, and Furman
Teenagers, Retired engineers, WYFF News reporters, trained actors, professional wrestlers, and US veterans. Our slammers have gone on to Def Poetry Jam, Verses & Flow, The Kennedy Center, MFA’s, National Tours, and Doctorates.

But Poetry Slam is not just about the poets on stage, when construction worker Marc Smith - created this social and literary arts movement, he not only rescued poetry from obscurity -
But he gave it back to the people
Back to the audience!

Poetry Slam is by design a crowd inclusive event that encourages active listeners. It comes from the folk tradition. Audience members will hear both new ideas from marginalized perspectives taking them outside their own experiences but also will find their own heartaches, their own trials, their deepest feelings expressed articulately and figuratively on stage.

Too often in today’s world we are plagued by feelings of isolation and loneliness but poetry slam connects people to our shared humanity:
Our shared values
Our shared stories.

The poetry slam can be a cathartic experience for both performers and listeners.

As is so often articulated-
Poetry Slam is community
Poetry Slam saves lives.

This year in Greenville we sent our 15th Slam team out into the world to compete against teams of poets from across the country. These poets - so much like the heroes journey of Joseph Campbell
went out into an unknown world where they met a new community, learned from them, shared ideas
and brought their experiences back home to Greenville. #nps2016 #poetryslaminc

Just as our poets benefit from the experiences of visiting big city slams
And meeting poets from across the country
The National Poetry Slam scene has benefited from meeting us.

Our Sunday night is a tourist destination for poetry slam fans across the country.