Take the Mic

( 7 )


Get on Stage and Perfect Your Performance

Have you ever enjoyed a slam or two and thought, "I could do this," but felt apprehensive staring at that empty mic—or worse, you climbed up on stage and struggled?

Let Marc Kelly Smith, the founder of Slam Poetry, teach you everything you need to be a confident performer, from writing a powerful poem, to stage techniques, to going on tour (if that's where your muse ...

See more details below
BN.com price
(Save 18%)$14.99 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $7.86   
  • New (7) from $8.90   
  • Used (6) from $7.86   
Take the Mic

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
BN.com price
(Save 13%)$10.99 List Price


Get on Stage and Perfect Your Performance

Have you ever enjoyed a slam or two and thought, "I could do this," but felt apprehensive staring at that empty mic—or worse, you climbed up on stage and struggled?

Let Marc Kelly Smith, the founder of Slam Poetry, teach you everything you need to be a confident performer, from writing a powerful poem, to stage techniques, to going on tour (if that's where your muse leads you).

Take the Mic is filled with insider tips, backstage advice, and tons of examples of slam poems that wake up an audience. With this book, you'll also be able to link to the PoetrySpeaks.com community to listen to samples, meet poets, and unearth inspirations for your next performance.

The Ultimate Guide to Writing and Performing with Power

Take the Mic is an essential guide for lifting your poetry from the page to the stage. Marc Kelly Smith (So What!), grand founder of the Slam movement, serves as you personal coach, showing you how to craft stage-worthy verse and deliver a poetry performance that shakes the rafters and sparks thunderous applause. In Take the Mic, you discover how to...

  • Pen poetry that's conducive to on-stage performance
  • Overcome stage fright
  • Practice powerful performance techniques
  • Rehearse like a pro
  • Shape a loose collection of poems into a killer set
  • Connect with your audience — heart and soul
  • Master the art of self-promotion
  • Schedule your own slam poetry tour
  • Transform your hobby into paying gigs
  • Act professional to establish a solid reputation in the Slam community

Take the Mic is packed with practical exercises you can do alone or in class to hone your skills and transform your body, mind, voice, verse, and spirit into an engaging stage presence.

You'll also find a brief history of slam, the rules and regulations that govern official slam competitions, and a list of PSI (Poetry Slam, Inc.) Certified Slams, so no matter where you are, you always have a place to Take the Mic!

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781402218996
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Pages: 298
  • Sales rank: 389,326
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Smith began the poetry slam over twenty years ago at the Green Mill in Chicago. He is the co-editor of The Spoken Word Revolution and The Spoken Word Revolution Redux. Joe Kraynak has written or co-written dozens of books ranging from computer basics to poetry.

Joe Kraynak has written or co-written dozens of books ranging from computer basics to poetry.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Chapter 1: What You Think You Know May NOT BE SLAM

"Competitive poetry.
That's what slam is.
I looked it up on Wikipedia."

When the uninitiated hear the term "slam poetry," they say "slam what?" or serve up the quick and easy answer quoted above or the equally facile interpretation that slam is "rap without music—what Eminem did in 8 Mile or what that singer Grande Corde Malade does in France." Chances are they got a taste of slam at the French Nationals or at the Starry Plough in Berkeley, but it was only a taste. A deeper drink would tell them more. And here's that drink, served up by the Slampapi himself:

Slams are captivating poetry events that focus a live audience's attention on the presentation of poetry that's been composed, polished, and rehearsed for the purpose of being performed—very often in a competitive arena, but not always. It's a carnival, a pageant, an interactive classroom, a town hall meeting, a con game, a versified boxing match, and a churchlike revival that electrifies and animates the people listening to and watching it.

Competitive slam poets battle against one another like wrestlers vying for a championship belt. Each poet takes his or her turn onstage to play at proving their superiority as both poet and performer. The audience is prompted to get involved, and it does! Crowds have been known to roar approval or stomp their boots in scorn for the poetics they love or pretend to hate.

As you'll learn, competition is not the solitary heartbeat at the core of the poetry slam, but it has been an important catalyst for stimulating poet-performers and audiences around the world to bring back the passion and vitality of words spoken aloud.

In this chapter, we look at what slam is and what it's not. We'll revisit a bit of its history, highlight some of the guidelines and principles responsible for its growth, talk about the unimportance (and importance) of the rules, and introduce you to the spirit that propels most slammers.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

How to Use This Book
Companion Book
A Note from the Publisher

Chapter 1: What You Think You Know May Not Be Slam
The Big Definition of Slam Poetry
What Slam Is and Isn't
Poetry and Performance
Where Art Thou, Slam?
Finally…Attention and Respect
Staged Bouts for Audience Appeal
Sowing the Seeds of Slam
"The Points Are Not the Point"
Who's the Best and Who Cares?
Striving for the Best of Both Worlds
Performance Poet as Audience Servant
New Life for a Dying Art
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 2: Getting into the Spirit of Slam
Spoken Word's Long Tradition
Battling Bards
Oral Tradition's Dark Ages
Spoken Word's Rebirth
Slam Takes Center Stage
Who Inspired This Madness? and Why?
Slam Poetry Goes National
Slam Poetry Goes Global
Slam Poetry Here and Now
The Spirit of Slam: Poetry for the People
Breaking Down the Color (and Collar) Barriers
The Culture of Democracy
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 3: Slam Competition—Rules, Regulations, and Other Formalities
It's a Game, Stupid!
The First Slam Competition
Who Says Who Wins?
The Basic Rules of Slam Engagement
Perform Your Own Work
Three Minutes Is All We Can Stand
No Props, Costumes, Trombones, or Other Carry-On Luggage
Scoring: 0 to 10 (or Down to Minus Infinity)
The Mean Chicago Rules
The Official Emcee Spiel Used at the National Poetry Slams
Slams Are Open to All
All Styles, Forms, and Subject Matter Are Welcome
The Prize Is Not the Point
The All-Important Audience Is Always in Control
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 4: Penning the Powerful
Slam Poem
Once Upon a Slam— Storytelling
What's Your Point—Oratory, Poetics, or a Laundry List of Love?
Pop Ideas and Newspaper Politics
Write from Experience
Seeing Is Believing— Concrete vs. Abstract Language
Slam Examples of Concrete Language
Abstract Language
Flaccid Phrasing
Too Smart for Your Performance
It's Gotta Sound Good, Too
Rock to the Rhythm Exercises
Old Testament Stanzas
If You Must Rhyme...
The Hip-Hop Line & Rhyme
Caution on the Motion—Too Much Rhyming Commotion
No Sermons, But If You Must Preach…
All Forms Can Slam
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 5: Confronting Stage Fright— Overcoming the Fear
What Is Happening to Me?!?
Slay the Confidence Busters
It's Not Natural…It's an Art
Is That Text Well-Prepared?
Visualize Success
Practice, Practice, Practice
Shift Your Focus
Breathe Already!
Please Release Me
Tricks (or No-Brainers) of the Trade
Not Recommended
Celebrating Your Slam Virginity, and Then Losing It
Confessions of a Virgin Virgin— Joel Chmara
Confessions of a Virgin Virgin—Mary Fons
Accumulate Stage Time
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 6: Slammin' Fundamentals
The Entertaining Fundamentals
Vary the Volume
Classroom Activities
Tweak the Tempo
Classroom Activity
Classroom Activity
Breathe Deep and Pause
Classroom Activity
Look 'Em in the Eye
How We Make Memory Deposits
Total Recall
The Memorization Curve
Exercises in Flexing the Memory Muscle
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 7: Body Talk—Shake, Gesture, and Move
Warming Up
Exercise: Shake Out
Exercise: Breathe
Exercise: Vocal Warm-Ups
Classroom Activity: Warm-Ups
Elements of Movement
Exercise: In the Bubble
Exercise: Catching Butterflies
Exercise: Imagine the Stone
Exercise: Paint the Reading Room Red
Laban's Eight Efforts
Exercise: Applying Effort to Your Words
Classroom Activity
Down to Specific Body Parts
Working Out the Kinks
Posture and Stance
Crossing the Boards
Dos & Don'ts of Movement
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 8: Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse
Establish a Rehearsal Regimen
Set a Rehearsal Schedule
Rehearse in Layers
Spice It Up with Some Variation
Finding Voice, Tone, and Mood through Rehearsal
Discovering a Poem's Voice (Character)
Exercise: Exploring a Poem's Voice
Discovering a Poem's Tone (Attitude) & Mood (Emotion)
Exercise: Exploring a Poem's Tone and Mood
Discovering the Situation and
Identifying the Unseen Audience
Exercise: Exploring Situation and Audience
Classroom Activity
Practicing Your Approach: Stepping Up to the Mic
Make the Right Approach
Use Your Nervous Condition to Your Advantage
Hitting Your Mark
Exercise: Practicing Your Approach and Stage Movements
From Closet to Mirror to Tape Recorder to Friendly Ears
Through the Looking Glass
Audio Replay
Video Replay
Recruiting a Critique .
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 9: Shaping a Performance and a Few More Skills
Mastering the Art of Seductive Revelation
Enter and Open with a Flair
Hold 'Em
Mixing It Up
Something Up Your Sleeve
From Knee-Slappers to Sidesplitters
Spectacle and Visual Accessories
Musical Accompaniment and Sound Effects
The Edge
Underpinning It All: Style and the Subject Matters
All Forms Can Slam— Take Two
Avoiding Common Performance Clichés
Performing in the Zone
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 10: Where and How to Gig Around
All the Gigs You Can Do
Open Mic Search
Bookstore Readings
Don't Forget the Slams
Performance Venues of Every Variety
Nightclubs, Saloons, and Other Informal Venues
Late-Night Theater
Slammin' in the Schools (Educational Outreach)
Do-It-Yourself Venues (Create Your Own Show)
Performance Poetry Etiquette 101
Look & Listen & Get to Know
Behave Yourself, Be Courteous, & Do Your Job
Audience Etiquette
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 11: Book Me! Please!
Thinking Like a Marketing Mogul
Hitting the Campaign Trail
Press Pack
Page One and Only One!
In-Depth Résumé
Look at Me!
In the News!
Finally My Poems!
Audio Component
The Do-It-Yourself Audio Method
Getting a Little Sound Advice
Studio Time
The Clock's Ticking
Aftersounds—Editing and Production
Roll 'Em: Filming Your Act
Built-In Opportunities
Call the Pros
Establishing a Web Presence
Launch a Website
Populate Your Website or Blog with Content
Promote Your Website or Blog
Explore Social Networks
Share Podcasts of Your Performances
Post Video Clips on YouTube
Low Budget or All-Out Glitz?
Putting the Tools to Work
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 12: Getting the Word Out: Publicizing Your Performance
Know What You're Promoting
Marketing Materials: Forms That Fit
Making a Name (and Logo) for Yourself
Cheap, but Effective: Flyers and Postcards
Not as Cheap, but Very Effective: Posters
Garnering Some Free Press, Radio Time, and Exposure
Generating Feature Stories, Interviews, and Media Attention
Step 1: Write a Press Release
Step 2: Send the Press Release
Step 3: Call 'Em
Work Your Angle
Press the Airwaves
More Methods for Getting the Word Out
Managing Mailing (and Emailing) Lists
Press the Flesh
Paid Ads
Cool Calls
Website Appeal
Never Underestimate Word of Mouth
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 13: Taking Your Show on the Road
Tour Planning 101
Step 1: East Coast? West Coast? No Coast?
Step 2: Book a Big Gig
Step 3: Find More Dots (Gigs) and Connect Them
Step 4: Route Your Tour
Step 5: Filling in the Gaps
Step 6: Get a Ride
Step 7: Find a Place to Sleep and Shower
Step 8: Promoting Your Tour
Step 9: Before You Start the Engine
Schmoozing the Bookers, the Waiters, the Ticket Takers
Slams and Their Masters
Nightclub Owners and Their Managers
Buttering Up the Booking Agents
Concert Halls—Performing in the Big House
Don't Get Set Up to Fail
Getting Paid
If you remember anything, remember…

Chapter 14: Old-School Advice: Act Professional
Oh, Behave!
Keep It Down During a Performance
Don't Pull Focus While Others Are Performing
Don't Glower
No Hoot-and-Holler Cheerleading
Keep Conspicuous Negative Opinions to Yourself
It's Not Your House
Would You Talk That Way to Grandma?
Be Courteous: Nobody Likes a Jerk
Final Reminders—Last Bits of Advice
Be Prompt: Early Never Hurts
Offstage Preparation: Recap Getting the Nerves Out
Primping for the Stage
Hawking Your Wares
Respect Your Audience and Your Fellow Performers
If you remember anything, remember…

Appendix A: Slammers:
Performance Poetry
Poetry Collections
Audio Recordings
Publishers of Slam Poetry

Appendix B: Books on Poetics & Performing
Appendix C: Slammin' Websites
Appendix D: PSI—Certified Slams

About the Authors

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Can i rp a kit?

    It hsa to be a girl. Ellie

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Can i rp a kit?

    "Can i rp a kit? Any of them. It just has to be a girl." ~Silvermoonstar~

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Can i rp

    Can i rp runningkit?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    Monkey the crazy

    Lost med cat. Wuz in imposterclan. Left because they impostered people. Can i join?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012



    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)