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Years of research and interviews led to the creation of this work by poet Aptowicz (Working Class Represent), founder of the National Poetry Slam Championship. In it, Aptowicz defines three cultural movements contributing to slam poetry: the Harlem Renaissance, the Beat movement, and the advent of hip-hop. Her captivating history reveals a highly charged, creative genre, but no footnotes or bibliography back up the text. Instead, Aptowicz offers an oral history from her firsthand experiences and from interviews with key slammers like Bob Holman, Maggie Estep, Saul Williams, Edward Garcia, Jen Weiss, and many more. These accounts strive to answer that key question-Why slam?-by testifying to the immediate gratification slammers feel in getting their words out and the strong sense of community they experience through their performances. Readers may wish for more examples besides Beau Sia's tribute to "the Ginz" (Allen Ginsberg) and the poetry triggered by the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Including numerous photos and chronologies of slam events, this is useful for libraries offering poetry slams as part of their programming.