Home Events The Healing Power of Slam Poetry

The Healing Power of Slam Poetry

Featuring Dr Raphael d’Abdon, Busisiwe Mahlangu and Xabiso Vili. Facilitated by Ongezwa Mbele

In very general terms, slam poetry can be described as competitive poetry performed by budding poets in public spaces. In slam tournaments, young competitors engage with topics like intersectionality, gender-based violence, history, trauma, etc. in front of attentive and vocal crowds, catalysing the attention and the energy of the urban youth in emotionally charged venues. However, because of its problematic form and its insistence on performance rather than writing, slam poetry is also one of the most litigious topics within discussions on literature, society and popular culture: on one side, one finds detractors who dismiss it by claiming it is a carnivalisation of poetry; the other side is occupied by slam practitioners and lovers, who consider it an innovative artistic expression, largely emancipated from the prosodic conventions and linguistic ‘norms’ of the academia. Writer and researcher Ongezwa Mbele, and poets and slam champions Busisiwe Mahlangu and Xabiso Vili will be in conversation with Dr Raphael d’Abdon, poet, researcher, and author of the article “Slam to Heal. A Poetic Inquiry Reflection”. This panel will explore and discuss relevant features of slam poetry, with a special focus on its therapeutic powers. Its aim is to challenge conventional binary interpretations of this artform, and facilitate a nuanced understanding of it.


Mar 21 2023


12:00 PM - 1:00 PM