This is the official blog of Northern Arizona slam poet Christopher Fox Graham. Begun in 2002, and transferred to blogspot in 2006, FoxTheBlog has recorded more than 670,000 hits since 2009. This blog cover's Graham's poetry, the Arizona poetry slam community and offers tips for slam poets from sources around the Internet. Read CFG's full biography here. Looking for just that one poem? You know the one ... click here to find it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Slam Tutorial: Embrace Your Inner Nerd - Specifically

Your secret shame, be it Star Wars, the Lord of the Rings, or Harry Potty, audiences love it when you Embrace Your Inner Nerd. If you secretly love a nerdy topic, your audience likely does, too. Embrace it, milk it and push the limits.
If you can liken your nerd-love to real-world topics, either dramatic or humorous, you can greatly win over an audience. Half the fun is indulging in your nerdy passion, the other half is making it relevant to an audience who may only have a tangential relationship to the topic.

There are several subspecies, the less common of which is: Specific Nerd

Big Poppa E is known for his humor poems and his "Wussy Boy" Manifesto. This poem ostensibly tries to merge the two although the "wussy boy" on Harry Potter is a bit of a stretch, though it serves as vehicle for this poem.
It permitted BPE to embrace his knowledge of his specific topic, in this case the Harry Potter mythos.
The difficulty with specific nerd poems is going too deep. Unless the audience is steeped in nerd culture such as at the Nerd Slam at the National Poetry Slam - yes, there is one, I won at Gul Dukat action figure at the 2006 NPS - delve only deep enough that someone who has read the books, seen the movie, skimmed the comic book, or visited the Web site briefly will be able to grasp the concepts. Remember that your audience may be well versed, your judges, however, may not be.

This poem was performed at the 2005 Southwest Shootout in Albuquerque, N.M. The intro section is the way it is because BPE was in the midst of another signature poem of his and completely dropped the poem, forgetting it midway. He tried to recover, but after the second failure, and realizing that due to his eventual scores and time penalty, through the poem into the wind and performed this. If memory serves, I was standing with a few members of the Flagstaff Poetry Team about four feet to the left and about six feet behind the camera during BPE's collapse. Although he lost the round to other teams, this performance was worth remembering.

"Harry Potter Emo Love Song"
By Big Poppa E (aka Eirik Ott)

i see you sitting there in the library
with your nose pressed into a book
and I'm sitting across from you crossing my fingers
hoping you'll stop and give me a look

when i hear your voice my face goes full flush
as red as Ron Weasley's hair
i want with all of my being to reach out
and take your hand, but i do not dare

i thought for a while that Cho Chang was the one
who was the object of my desire
but i was wrong, my dear, because you're the witch
who turns my heart into a Goblet of Fire

oh, Hermione Granger, my darling,
i can't keep you off of my mind
come climb on the back of my Nimbus 2000
and we'll leave Hogwarts far behind
far behind

sometimes i hide under my invisibility cloak
just so i can watch you from afar
and i don't care if your parents are Muggles
the lights in your eyes shine like stars

if i had a chance to go back to first year
i'll tell you just what i would do
i wouldn't take the sorting hat from the top my head
until it said i belonged to you

and sure i know you-know-who is out there somewhere
looking to kill me with his wicked dark art
but the mark he left on my forehead is nothing compared
to the lightening bolt shaped scar on my heart

oh, Hermione Granger, my darling,
I can't keep you off of my mind
come climb on the back of my nimbus 2000
and we'll leave Hogwarts far behind
far behind

I've written a note on a scroll, my dear,
and tied it to my owl Hedwig's leg
and I'm hoping my words will convince you to love me
so i don't have to fall to my knees and beg.

my note says, "if you love me half as much as i love you,
meet me at midnight behind Hagrid's shack,
and if you fail to show up I'll know that you don't
and I'll try very hard to go back...

to being your best friend

oh, Hermione Granger, my darling,
i can't keep you off of my mind
come climb on the back of my nimbus 2000
and we'll leave Hogwarts far behind
far behind

No comments: