Slam Nation: The Sport of Spoken Word [2 Discs]

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The phenomenon of the poetry slam originated in Chicago in the 1980s, where young writers would perform their verses in competitive form at bars and coffeehouses before a live audience. Poets would be given three minutes to perform a piece they wrote themselves, and a panel of judges (chosen at random from the audience) would rate the poets and their delivery on a scale of one to ten. As spoken word performance gained a new popularity in the '90s, the poetry slam began to spread nationwide, and soon four-member slam teams from different cities were competing against each other around the U.S. Slam Nation: The Sport of the Spoken Word is a documentary shot at the 1996 National Poetry Slam in Portland, Oregon, in which groups of young performers from across the country compete with their streetwise, aggressively-performed verses in front of an enthusiastic audience. Director Paul Devlin, who has also directed sports programming for @ESPN, focuses on the competitive nature of the performances onstage, and their more contemplative and philosophical sides offstage. One of the featured performers, Saul Williams, also starred in a dramatic feature about the poetry slam movement, Slam. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Chapter List

Disc #1 -- Slam Nation: The Sport of Spoken Word
1. Opening Montage [:59]
12. Representing New York City [:59]
15. Day One [1:04]
16. New York City vs. Seattle vs. Mesa [1:27]
22. Team Providence [:16]
28. Providence vs. San Francisco vs. Berwyn [:25]
33. Boston vs. Austin vs. Cleveland [1:00]
39. Day Two [1:55]
40. New York City vs. Connecticut vs. Worcester [:06]
41. The Published Debt [:41]
46. Providence vs. Vancouver vs. Long Beach [:28]
52. Origins of the Slam [:43]
56. Gotta Go To Work [1:31]
60. Poet Softball [2:00]
61. Berwyn vs. Vancouver vs. Seattle [:05]
64. Democratization of Art [:31]
67. New York City vs. Boston vs. Athens [:42]
75. Slam Masters Meeting [3:30]
76. Finals [1:47]
89. End Credits [2:48]