Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Burlington Slam Project Needs Your Help!

For 7 years, the Burlington Slam Project (BSP) has provided a platform for people to find their voice, find their courage, and find their inner artist. It is a monthly open mic and poetry slam competition – a high energy event that challenges artists to constantly strive for improvement, and challenges audience members to interact with the show, and voice their opinions. It also brings in a new feature artist each month, from all over canada and the US, to provide opportunities to touring poets, and to showcase the next level of the artform to the local talent.

The BSP is a place where artists are encouraged to give voice to their hearts, which is so often avoided in polite society. It is a place where we allow people to showcase their humanity safely, without fear of consequence or persecution. And in doing so, we form a community of artists who will take it upon themselves to lift each other up, to help each other strengthen their work, and to find their own sense of greatness. It is entirely volunteer-operated, with funds raised for national competition through little more than the grit and tenacity of its organizers and poets.

There is no “wrong” answer when it comes to a slam stage. Some artists dabble in wordplay, others in storytelling, some engage themselves in nonsensical silliness; the point is the expression. This is not the kind of event that requires an education in poetry to attend, or to take part in. All it requires is attention, and energy. Most often, we hear the audience inspired, either to take some action in their lives, or to stand up and say something themselves. We very commonly hear that the BSP is not what was expected, and we strive to continue to promote the idea that poetry does not need to adhere to the old expectations of quiet calm…though it is certainly welcome to, should that be the artist’s prerogative.

For the past 30 years, Slam has grown explosively in the US, and has been growing steadily in Canada. This has resulted in higher levels of competition, with the best and brightest from each community forming teams to seek national or international glory at the national championships. The BSP has been sending teams to national competition for 6 of its 7 years, and has always commanded a level of respect and admiration for our community’s teamwork and the quality of the art produced.

For the past 7 years, the BSP has argued against what most people called an impossible task – growing a “big city” artform in a suburban town. And for the past 7 years, the slam has grown, and grown, always impressing on a national stage, and constantly attracting new audience members, and new artists who can often find slam to be therapeutic, and life-changing. This is not something that is going away. It’s growing, and the more people we reach in Burlington, the more we are likely to find have something to say, or just want to come out and see an excellent show. Community is the very lifeblood of the Burlington Slam Project, and our ongoing goal is not just to foster our own poetic community, but to engage in and join with the greater community of Burlington.

This year, we will be sending our team to the US Nationals in Oakland, California. This takes place mid-August, and is no easy feat in fundraising. While we have already raised a good amount, we still require $4,600 to cover the expenses of flying 5 people to Oakland, and putting them up in a hotel for a week. Any donations are welcome, along with other fundraising opportunities and just spreading the word! Please, help in any way you can so we can continue showing the world just what Burlington can do. All donations and inquiries can be made to Tomy Bewick at tbewick_bsp@outlook.com

For more information, please visit our blog at www.burlingtonslam.wordpress.com

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