10:20:23 pmCategories: Fieldwork, Music, literature, arts...

Some French slam poetry web sites

Oh, no not one of those days… Here I sit, it’s Friday evening, people I know get together to drink beer not far from here right at this moment, I could be there, or I could go to see Resistance(s), a screening of short films from North Africa and the Middle East at the Cinemathèque, but no, what am I doing, yes, I sit at my office, looking out of the window at the excellent weather… - well, now the full moon is up… - doing some kind of silly quasi-academic work… And it will take me ages to get all these links right…

Time is overripe for finding out more about slam poetry, the phenomenon by way of which I’ll try to understand and describe La France Métissée. I bumped into the Parisian slam scene with almost no prior knowledge, and for two months I hung around at various slam soirées in eastern Paris and her hot suburbs, just experiencing what was going on.

As I’ve returned to university office life for a couple of months, hoping to start turning my field experiences into science, it’s high time I start finding out what this poetry scene is about. Tuesday I’ll present my fieldwork for my colleagues in the anthropology department, and in addition to telling them what I have experienced, I thought I’d better explain them a little what slam is about as well. I’ve not found much printed literature on the subject, but Internet is of course full of information, as is fitting for this so-called post-modern literary phenomenon. (I’ll return to what’s post-modern about it, as soon as I get a clue). In fact, when I started searching for information on slammeurs and slammeuses today, I discovered the Internet social networking phenomenon MySpace, of which Wikipedia has this to say:

MySpace is also home to various independent musicians, independent filmmakers, and up and coming comedians who upload songs, short films, and other work directly onto their profile. These songs and films can also be embedded in other profiles, an interconnectedness which adds to MySpace's appeal for musicians, filmmakers, and comedians alike.

Hence, obviously a perfect post-modern place for post-modern poetry…

From the languages presenting articles on slam poetry on the online encyclopaedia wikipedia, I understand that the genre is most vibrant in the USA, where it was created, and in Sweden, Germany and France where it was initiated in the mid- to late 1990s. (In Norway slam exist, but it’s not very big – however as a form of spoken word tradition it has existed in various shapes since time immemorial, at least since the Viking skald or bard. Apropos that époque, slam is apparently also an old Norse word, meaning hitting hard, like in slam the door (slamre med døren, in contemporary Norwegian).

Now to the websites I’ve come across on French slam poetry – only in French, unfortunately… (when I get hold of my usually so present Webmaster, I’ll include some of them in a blog roll):

Grand corps malade made it to the bestseller lists with his album released this spring, thus making slam poetry known to a large public. He has even got an entry on French wikipedia. I strongly recommend his poem on his native banlieue nord, Saint-Denis (sound) and Enfant de la ville(text).

The collective 129H Production (with a new and an older website, apparently with the same content): “Supportive structure for artistic production in France and West Africa”. Hear some of their texts on their sites on myspace.com: Néobled (listen, blog with agenda, bio etc, Rouda (listen to a text on slam sauvage, blog with agenda, bio etc) and Lyor (listen, blog with agenda, bio etc). (The three of them also have blogs on the website Haut et fort, but my iBook refuses to link to them for some reason...)

Le meilleur ami des mots (Myspace with Qui est le meilleur ami des mots ?, France Fiction or two other texts): Souleymane Diamanka (listen) and John Banzai (listen).

Some general information pages on the French slam scene: Planète Slam (a very instructive site if one gets past the initial annoying pop-up ads... &#59;) ), Fédération français de slam poésie and Keep it green. UPDATE: Le-slam.org Universlam
And some more sites on Myspace with soundtracks, videos, bios etc: Rahman, site de l’homme-soleil, Rahman on My Space, Le Robert on Myspace (Le petit prince listen and read the poem), Rara Fonpanié on Myspace

And finally, I found a site on My space with the usAmerican slammer, Soul Williams – for those who don’t understand French ☺

(I've probably overlooked loads of important sites, and then there is one more question; where are the ladies?!)

Afterword: I'll probably very soon have to make a revised version of this post, as I get to know the slam scene at the web, until then I just have to mention that I've found at least some of the slammeuses - on Slam ô feminin, of course...


Comment from: marie [Visitor]  

Hello, I am also studying slam, though at a fas lesser level (A2) my project is on it’s connection to the banlieue and I would very much appreciate any viewpoints or information you could share, I’d also suggest you look up the video by pascal tessaurd- the slam that burns, haven’t seen it yet but it’s supposed to be a almost underground docementary about 3 or 4 different slameurs, there motivations etc…hopefully you can get my email address of this. best regards.

23/04/09 @ 15:33
Comment from: [Member]

Thanks for your comment, Marie! It’s interesting to hear from others who also study French slam poetry. There’s probably a lot to say about slam in connection with the banlieues. I’ll see if I can come up with something that can help you. I’ve seen slam, ce qui nous brûle on the internet (dailymotion), but unfortunately it’s removed now.

24/04/09 @ 10:12
Comment from: Ruby [Visitor]

Hi. Thanks so much for this post. I have been following english spoken word poetry and poetry slams for years, and since beginning a french course in University I have been dying to explore this genre in French as well. Your post has been so helpful in getting me started. All the best

03/11/09 @ 02:50

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