This article discusses the appropriation of the poetry slam for educating nontraditional university students. For an upper-level undergraduate course, I offer a brief history of the poetry slam before defining what I refer to as the “bad” poetry slam. Through an analysis of the slam, including excerpts from students’ poems, I show that the exaggeration of alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme, diction, and tone contribute to students’ increased understanding of poetry. Moreover, in conflating the speaker of these poems with the subject matter, students ultimately cultivated respect for one another’s interests and creativity. I conclude by considering some of the unintended side effects of the poetry slam and whether appropriating this event for classroom use will prove beneficial inside and outside of the university in the future.


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pp. 571-577
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