Pesničenje (poetry slam)

Submitted by Goran Tomka, University of Arts Belgrade
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Pesničenje is an exercise in active poetry-making. It is a long-term project by Rex Cultural Centre from Belgrade which gathers all kinds of poets for public readings of their (often amateur) poetry. It is a stage based sharing of ones own poetic expressions. However, it goes further and develops a self-publishing approach which means that the collection of entrance fees (1 Euro) for reading evenings is invested for the making of a collective poetry book. Every book then serves as an invitation for other amateur poets.

In which way is this method alternative? 

Poetry is a particular mode of expression, however, it is usually either very professional and exclusive (only those that can live from it can afford to publish), or it is a lonely pursuit in the case of nonprofessional poets (who often never publish). Pesničenje is thus different in that it (1) engages poets who are amateurs (2) in a collective poetry sharing. As such, it serves as an avenue to the wealth of poetic expressions. Furthermore, its publishing format of a samizdat kind, pushes it even more towards a knowledge sharing method.

In which context was the method developed?

Pesničenje was created as an initiative of the art group “Škart” in November 2008 with the aim of supporting individuals to share their creativity, while promoting a new form of presentation and exchange of poetry. As an artist collective themselves, working at the margin of established art circles, they wated to empower unestablished artists to exhibit publicly their poems and other short writings. Since COVID, events have been rare.

Requirements for applying the method

Being a performative event, Pesničenje certainly requires specific skills of participants to be able to go on stage and share their works. It is a very particular art project, so as such it is not even conceived as a method. However, I find it very replicable – various forms of self-expression can be shared in a similar fashion, opening a wealth of experiences to the world. Every context and every form would have to be taken into consideration.

Settings and participants the method is best suited for

It is not a pedagogical method per se, but rather a community form of cultural event, however, it brings to surface life experiences, understandings and views that are very often subaltern in terms of their intimacy and distance to usual public sphere. It is geared towards those who practice, enjoy and admire poetry, however it is not a club of any kind, since anyone can join.

Additional references