Slam/Performance Poetry

The Two Sisters

(by Jean Howard)

When I first arrived in Chicago in 1979, the poetry scene was quietly humming series of readings, like the Banyan Press series at the Paul Wagoner Gallery, and the Poetry Center readings featuring “top name” poets like Philip Levine and Galway Kinnell. Although the Poetry Center brought in larger audiences, these series tended to bring in the same small pockets of people for audiences–poets, “poets hearing poets.”

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Marc Smith About Slam Poetry

(by its founder, Marc “So What” Smith)

Slam is about all styles. It is about expanding the possibilities of poetry instead of limiting them, about injecting performance into the art of poetry, and most importantly about creating community amongst poets and audiences of diverse natures.

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Slam Utah's Mission

About SLAM! Utah

Slam Utah encourages the spoken word through involving and empowering people of all ages, creeds, and races in the appreciation, creation and performance of poetry and the spoken word. Slam Utah is committed to strengthening and uniting the poetry and spoken word community of Utah by being a forum for communities statewide to communicate, organize and educate through. Our goal is to explore and cultivate the highest forms of spoken word and performance poetry and to seek, inspire and mentor Slam and performance poets.

The logo for slam utah.
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Poetry Productions

  • 10TH ANNIVERSARY POETRY SLAM CELEBRATION, American Blues Theatre - Co-organizer
  • 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th NATIONAL POETRY VIDEO FESTIVAL, Guild Complex - Co-organizer and curator of a three-day festival
  • DANCING IN YOUR MOTHER'S SKIN, Link's Hall-Co-producer of collaborative production with photographer, Alice Hargrave, and choreographer, Jan Bartoszek
  • PSYCHOPOETICA, Marsacala Mortuary - Producer of collaborative production scripted and performed by the Chicago Poetry Ensemble.
  • DOLLMAKER, Organic Theatre - Playwright of a one-act play developed through actors' improvisation
  • TATTOO, TABOO, Arc Gallery - Producer of multimedia production, collaborative scripting and performance
  • GREEN MILL POETRY SLAM - Participant in the original development of nationally acclaimed weekly poetry competition

Poetry Performances


  • UTAH ARTS FESTIVAL, featured poet
  • "DIAL-A-POEM", Chicago Council On Fine Arts, '83, 85, 88, *92, *95;
  • TELEPOETICS: VIRTUAL CHICAGO, Randolph Street Gallery
  • WILD ONES BIKER POETRY SLAM, Nick's Pub, Super Series Motorcycle Show,
  • A PIECE OF PEACE, The Peace Museum
  • BABEL OF TONGUES, Carol Jones Gallery
  • POETS OF TIA CHUCHA PRESS, Poetry Center of Chicago
  • BIKER POETRY SLAM, Desperado's Bar & Johnny Ringos
  • IN YOUR FACE, Women's Place Bookstore, Park City, Utah
  • THREE POEMS, 1989 & 91 Neutral Turf Poetry Festival, Navy Pier,
  • FIGHT AGAINST CENSORSHIP BENEFIT, POEMS IN A RED DRESS, Blue Rider Theatre Festival, Green Mill, Estelle's, Round-The-Coyote Festival
  • BOOK BURNING, Guild Complex
  • SHACKLES, SPIKES, & PEWS, Guild Complex, Radical Scholars Conference
  • EATING MEAT, Hot House, Cross Currents, Green Mill, Lower Links Club
  • ACT OF LUNACY, Chicago Library Cultural Center, Lower Links Club, Green Mill
  • POTIONS "R" US, Lower Links Club, Holsum Roc Gallery,
  • PSYCHOPOETICA (Excerpts), Indiana University, Green Mill, Cabaret Voltaire
  • BEAT POETS, Scenes
  • COLORS FADE (Collaboration), Omnation Press Benefit
  • CIRCUS CHATTER (Collaboration), The Vu, Green Mill
  • VICTIMS, Aids Benefit, Theatre Building
  • "PRIVATES" OPENING, Randolph Street Gallery
  • DOLLMAKER, "Vice Versa" Opening, Cabaret Voltaire, Links Hall, Green Mill
  • SUNDAY AFTERNOON, Sheffield's
  • FEATURED POET, Sun Sound Radio
  • CLIMAX DELUXE, Frumkin Struve Gallery
  • LOVER'S WEEKEND, Hyatt Regency O'Hare
  • BANYON PRESS ANTHOLOGY, Paul Wagoner, Gallery
  • CELEBRATION OF THE CAT, Green Mill, Lincoln Park Pets
  • ARGON, Randolph Street Gallery
  • "Not Late Night With Ben Hollis", Cross Currents
  • FEATURED POET, Maple Leaf, New Orleans;
  • INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY, Randolph Street Gallery
  • Literary Death Match – The State Room, Salt Lake City
  • Bite Sized Poet of the Month: Feb – Video by Utah Department of Arts & Museums
  • POETRY! Slam Team Utah Benefit – Barnes & Noble, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Sundance Film Festival: Metallic Magnetic Poetry Dress Performance – Park City, UT
  • Great Salt Lake Book Festival – Salt Lake City Library
  • Full Contact Poetry Brawl of Words & Wit - Orbit Cafe, Salt Lake City, UT
  • SLAMMERS ROCK at CITY ARTS - Salt Lake City Library
  • The Spoken Word Revolution Book Signing – Barnes & Noble , SLC, UT
  • Dancing In Your Mother’s Skin Book Signing – Woman’s Place Bookstore – Park City, UT
  • Submerged in Art: Benefit for Road Home Homeless Shelter – Tap Room - SLC, UT
  • Bard of Barflies Poetry – Lazy Moon Pub – SLC, UT
  • Women of the World Poetry Slam Emcee – Gracie’s - Salt Lake City, UT
  • The Ruckus – Club Orange – SLC, UT
  • Poetry at The Leonardo -with poet Laureate, Katherine Coles & Plan B Theatre – SLC, UT
  • Virtual Celebration – Anna F. Brown’s Chapbook Release with the Chicago
  • Poetry Ensemble
  • Utah Humanities Book Festival - Salt Lake City Library
  • Jean Howard & Sara Caliero-Oertli – Ken Saunders Books – SLC, UT
  • Power Lines: Guild Complex 10th Anniversary Benefit – Chicago Historical Society
  • 25th Anniversary Poetry Slam Extravaganza – Metro Theatre – Chicago, IL