We Are Poets is a documentary following the journey of six Leeds based young authors who take on America at a slam competition in Washington DC. I’m afraid I’ve never been a fan of the poetry slam but this film made me question my judgement.
This is how I saw the slam before the film: If poets are the clarion of revolution then slam is a powerful sponsor that undermines the core principles of what poetry is and of what poets are.
After the film I had to ask myself if slam has given the power of the poem to the judges am I underestimating young poets by thinking they are not robust enough to climb above the definitions of a panel or audience to become the poets they are?
I realised that poets will always absorb and then climb above whatever structures are built to define them. Because of Slam the ever decreasing circle of the poetry reading is now looking outwards to the masses and that has to be exciting.
As a film We Are Poets is to british young poets what Spellbound is to American youth. I always thought slam was flawed because it has only one winner. But in We Are Poets I’ve learned that slam encourages a generation of winners.
Where there are walls new poetry movements will see over them. Where there are gateways new poetry movements will open them and where there are gatekeepers new poetry movements will see through them. This film made me fonder of the new generation and reminded me of what it is to be a poet.