MALAYSIA NATIONAL POETRY SLAM 2022
The Malaysia National Poetry Slam (MNPS) is a national competitive platform which provides exposure and opportunities for youths between the ages of 7 to 25 to perform spoken word poetry in front of an audience and a panel of judges.
The event features five (5) regional workshops in various states around Malaysia with its own Mini Poetry Slam which serve as the selection platform where 3 – 5 workshop participants under the Primary, Secondary and Varsity Categories will be selected by the trainers to represent the state/region and compete at the national slam for free. Participants which intend to compete in the Open Category are not required to go through the selection process, however are encouraged to attend the workshop.
Typically, poetry slams are loud and lively, with audience participation, cheering, snapping and dramatic delivery. Poets are required to perform their original spoken word poems specifically written for the stage based on the theme given. Poetry slams can feature a broad range of voices, styles, cultural traditions, and approaches to writing and performance. Poets are awarded points for their poems and performances by the judges in determining the Champion or the “Grand Slammer” but remember – “the points are not the point, the point is poetry!”
WHAT IS A POETRY SLAM?
A poetry slam is a competition arts event in which poets perform spoken word poetry before a live audience and a panel of judges. Culturally, poetry slams are a break with the past image of poetry as an elitist or rigid art form. While formats can vary, slams are often loud and lively, with audience participation, cheering and dramatic delivery. Hip-hop music and urban culture are strong influences, and backgrounds of participants tend to be diverse.
Poetry slams began in Chicago in 1984, with the first slam competition designed to move poetry recitals from academia to a popular audience. American poet Marc Smith, believing the poetry scene at the time was “too structured and stuffy”, began experimenting by attending open microphone poetry readings, and then turning them into slams by introducing the element of competition.
The performances at a poetry slam are judged as much on enthusiasm and style as content, and poets may compete as individuals or in teams. The judging is often handled by a panel of judges, typically five, who are usually selected from the audience. Sometimes the poets are judged by audience response.
The tagline for poetry slam is ‘The points are not the point. The point is poetry’ and remember, when we say poetry, you say slam. Poetry…..SLAM!
THEME OF MNPS 2022: UNSPOKEN WILDERNESS
Human beings are social animals, and wilderness is fundamental to human nature. Yet, we persist in subduing our raw instincts and suppressing our unique individuality to fit into a cruel box of labels, expectations, and conformity. The wilderness within us sets competitive, impossible standards for ourselves and others, while our social nature pushes us to conform to those brutal forecasts.
The pursuit of happiness, success and belonging have created a funny little paradox where we hide our most authentic self to be accepted; yet we long for our quirks, insecurities and flaws to be embraced by others. In a world where success is measured in ringgit and sen, and wisdom is anchored in efficiency and accuracy, has our desire for love and acceptance created internal demons full of hate, destruction and dehumanisation of others? Have our unspoken truths and lost conversations become the barrier between us and finding the place we can call home?
Volatile times can leave little room for us to contemplate our tomorrows. Nevertheless, those tomorrows will arrive, influenced by our actions in the here and now. How will you speak your wild truths while creating a more welcoming and forgiving home for all? At MNPS this year, we invite aspiring and seasoned spoken word poets to explore the depths of human nature, to be unafraid of your true selves, and to tell us about your unspoken wilderness in a seemingly hostile world.