Poetry doesn't read well. The rhythms, the accents and dynamics, are all lost. They can be implied with punctuation or spacing, with the layout and the structure of the verse, but it still loses what can make poetry great: the virtual taste of a word. The way it charges off the tongue like it's storming the beach at Normandy or has to be dragged kicking and screaming like it knows what's waiting for it, all depending on the context of its usage. Does it need hand motions? Volume? Speed? Does it have the most impact when mumbled drunkenly, or when coughed out like a chunk of bronchial lung-butter? You can't get those nuances from a reading, which is why poetry works best as a spoken medium.
That's not to say that those spoken performances always work out for the best. When at its best, poetry is truly moving. When it's not, its movement is generally toward the door for some air until the next poet. But it's worth taking the chance to catch those fleeting glimmers of genius.
From the event listing...
Poetry workshop with Tara Brenner at 6 p.m. followed by an all-ages poetry slam. The Slam of Steel is a chance for poets to perform their own brand of spoken-word poetry, a combination of literature and performance, in front of a crowd. Sign ups are at 6:30 p.m. and the show is at 7 p.m.
No doubt someone with the maturity of a turnip will bare the inner torment of their soul about their inability to communicate outside of a chat room of some variety. But if you're lucky, you might just catch a Patty Smith in the rough. And if you're really lucky, it might even be you.