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We be Slammin'

by Jilliane Yawney - 0 Comment(s)

There once was a woman in Calgary,

She was OUTRAGEOUS, her name was Sheri-D

She made jokes 'bout her age,

brought her dog on the stage,

and now we all love Slam Poetry.

(Sheri-D Wilson @ The Calgary Spoken Word Fesitival. Photo by James Tworow)

Sheri-D would hate that. She would absolutely loathe it. It's too "lalalalalalalalala" and not enough "ZWEEEEEEEP deepee DA de zoop DWA da". Sheri-D Wilson, called "The Mama of Dada" (well, she certainly is surreal...) is one of Calgary's most successful spoken word poets. AND NOW (imagine this next part as if I were a radio-announcer) FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY (okay, back to normal), she is appearing at CPL's "2nd Saturday Slam" -- a series of workshops and competitions taking place on the second Saturday of every month.

Last week, youth from around the city came to the Central Library for a two-hour long workshop with Sheri-D and Tyler Perry, teammates from the Calgary Spoken Word Society. Participants received constructive (if slightly psychotic) criticism about their poetry and lyrical stylings that was well-worth the trip downtown: One guy had to translate, ON THE SPOT, every other line of his poem into his native Creole and then SING IT to a room full of people. It was suggested to another girl that she re-write her intensely emotional and angry poem as if it were a love letter. Yet another poet had to read her work as if it were a children's storybook -- Sheri-D sat on the side acting like a three-year-old to help the artist visualize the scenario better. Feedback was as entertaining for the audience as I'm sure it was enlightening and frustrating for the performers.

The day was a complete blast, with advice that ranged from language lessons ("Observe the slight cliches..." Sheri-D says, "Poetry is Manipulation") to life lessons ("Empower yourself! Get mad! Take 'em down!"), and even included some words for your L.A. and English Teachers:

"If your teacher asks you 'What does this Poem mean?', you just give them my number and I'll teach them a thing or two about poetry. POEMS HAVE NO MEANINGS".

The next Saturday Slam will take place on March 12th from 1:00-2:30 in the John Dutton Theatre at the Central Library. This event will be an actual slam competition, and some exciting news was given to prepare us for it: The ultimate winner of the Second Saturday Slam series will be given a spot on the Calgary Slam Youth team, and a chance to go to finals in 2012 as an adult performer!

If you have any questions about Slam Poetry and Sheri-D's work in particular, you can check out her homepage. The links for the Calgary Spoken Word Society and Youth Slam can be found here or here. Any questions regarding the Second Saturday Slam series at the Library can be phoned in to (403) 260-2657 (Services for Children, Teens and Families). And if you want to get a jumpstart on your entry for the competition, check out resources like this one, this one and this one.

See you on the 12th!

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