Sunday, April 12, 2009

Slam Poetry

Well, knowing absolutely nothing about Slam Poetry besides the cliched open mic atmosphere that is presented in movies, I decided to google famous Slam Poets in order to find some direction. The first name I came across was Alix Olson which brought me to another name that I remembered from watching a movie in Creative Writing Class: Suheir Hammad.

I absolutely loved this when I heard it. It is so powerful.

I believe that Suheir Hammad wrote this for her opinion to be heard first and foremost. She wants listeners to understand where she is coming from as a woman, and as a Palestinian. Amid all the people who continue to talk about "the first bombs being dropped over there" and how they're going to "get them so bad", she wants them to know that they are lumping a group of people together for the actions of a smaller group. She wants people to take a step back and actually realize the hypocrisy of the assumptions that they make. She is talking about how so many people assume that they know her because of the actions that a few others have performed. Of course, she is talking about 9/11 and where there once was steel, "now there is sky" and where there once was "flesh" there is "smoke."

She finds comfort in a woman that she describes as having "flesh." A woman who lends out her hand to help. This flesh is actually the capacity to love and forgive. Suheir is talking about the fact that this woman has substance and the fact that she has a heart. The way Suheir says it shows that there is very few of those people out there.

Although it was brief, she mentions what views people have on "evil." She says that it is now associated with some writing and a flag, but she wants people to know that not everyone is truely evil who comes from that same country. She asks why white people haven't been "villainized" and I believe she has a point. You can't judge someone based on someone else's actions.

"Over there, is over here now" explains how she feels about the way she is treated by other Americans. She realizes that she and her family will never be treated the same again and she knows that although she sees the beauty in the Muslim faith, but others will not because of how they have been portrayed.

I think I've said it enough, this poem is about learning to listen to other people's stories. It is impossible to stick a label on someone else based off of another person's actions.

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