Slamnation | Chicago Reader


Paul Devlin's documentary about the 1996 National Poetry Slam—held in Portland, Oregon, where four-person teams of poets representing four cities competed—presents judicious doses of the poetry and the personalities of the contenders in a methodical yet melodic style that gradually accumulates atmosphere and information without cutesy or sensationalized details. This portrait of a movement that began at Chicago's Green Mill shows that the distinction between a faith and an art form may be arbitrary—the competitors and organizers are passionate, even obsessive, about what they do. Building to a debate about whether team presentations must contain contributions from all four members, Devlin makes even the picayune engaging.

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