The performance-based poetry form is probably the newest child of pop culture. Fast-paced, entertaining and compelling, slam poetry had its birth about a little over three decades ago and since then it has enchanted the entire world with its magic. Started in Chicago, the art form has come down to India recently. Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore among a few other cities have active slam poetry circuits where the poets organize sessions and perform.

Recently, SheThePeople.TV caught up with a few artists from Delhi at the Delhi Poetry Festival who are part of Free The Verse collective. The artists talked about their inspirations and what they like to write about. Shibani Das, former member of the collective, first heard slam poetry in class 12th when she came across American poet Anis Mojgani. “I completely fell in love with the art of it. I believe everybody writes poetry, but performing it requires confidence. Slam poetry balances the ability of performance and expression which I find very exciting,” says Das.

She talks about her style of poetry and the poems she has written. “One poem is about the idea of how all girls are told to be Cinderella when they grow up but there is no prince charming waiting at the end of the story for us and how that is a difficult situation for us to come to terms with. I have also written about drug abuse and how students in colleges and schools are struggling with it.”

Delhi-based slam poets
Slam poetry artists (STP Original)

Another poet, Aparajita Deb started slam poetry when she was in her third year and now she is completing her Masters from Hansraj College of Delhi University. She believes that slam poetry is crucial as through it one can talk about things that are pertinent like hunger and poverty. Deb wrote about sex workers in her work titled ‘Sinonym’.

“This piece talks about how sex workers in our country have no rights and even the population census does not even count them as part of the country. I ended up visiting them and we thought that we’ll talk to them about our perspective and it just jarred us.”

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“It absolutely ruined us because it’s not something that happens in the west and we glorify them as they have choices but here, most of them do not have choices,” added Deb.

She has also written a fiery piece on the idea of perfect body type and body-shaming called ‘Fire and Vomit’. One has to listen to it to realize how deep it hits.

Delhi-based slam poets
Slam poetry artists (STP Original)

While Deb’s poetry will fill you with anger and disgust against humanity, Srishti Kapil’s poems make one contemplate and ponder. When Kapil performed her first set ever at Ramjas College, she says that she won the competition. She has written ‘A God’s Gender’ that comes from a feminist space.

Slam poetry is crucial as through it one can talk about things that are pertinent like hunger and poverty. Deb wrote about sex workers in her work titled ‘Sinonym’.

“It speaks to me a lot as I have always dabbled in believing in god or not believing in god so it comes from that space. It comes from being a feminist, being a woman and being tired of everything that we face,” said Kapil about her poem.

Fairly new to the game, these women still enthral the audience with their strong and dynamic pieces of art. They make look sweet and innocent but their poetry hits the nail right where it is supposed to and this is what makes their careers in slam poetry promising.

SheThePeople.TV is a proud partner of the Delhi Poetry Festival.

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