Known as the “competitive art of performance poetry,” poetry slams are an exciting, creative, and soul-satisfying way to spend your evening.
When I was in high school, I used to love making the trek downtown to watch and experience amateur and experienced poets alike take the stage at Toronto Poetry Slams at the Drake.
Recently, I was feeling nostalgic and craving the bittersweet beauty that only spoken word can bring.
So I decided to take it to Google, and check out whether there was anything similar in Dubai.
Turns out, there is.
Dubai Poetry Slam is a local group of poetry enthusiasts, giving the city’s growing spoken word community a monthly opportunity to showcase their talents.
Last Sunday, I attended their latest slam at The Intersect by Lexus.
Located in the city’s financial centre, DIFC, The Intersect by Lexus is a strange place where hipster coffee culture and luxury cars meet.
To get to the space, you have to walk through to Gate Village 7, passing Dubai’s trendiest, high-end restaurants like Zuma and La Petite Maison. (Well-dressed and high-heeled people watching is great in this area.)
Upon arriving at the two-floor venue (did I just see a Lexus on display downstairs?), I found one of the last empty seats at the front of the room. Surrounded by beautiful coffee table books on shelves and the buzzing of people as excited to see poetry as I, I was glad I came – even if it was on a weeknight.
The host – I didn’t catch her name – was a funny and warm woman who set up the evening by explaining the rules of the slam and randomly selecting judges from the crowd. A quick poll identified that this was the first poetry slam for many others.
The performers who had signed up in advance, took to the front of the room in turns – some experienced and some completely new – sharing their smooth words with a kind and engaged audience.
I laughed, my eyes watered, I wondered, I was inspired. It was everything I had been craving.
I can’t wait to go back again – even if the next venue doesn’t have a luxury car parked downstairs.
Information about upcoming Dubai Poetry Slam events can be found on their Facebook page.