“The audience rates you on a scale of one to ten. You have to be able to stand above it, »says Selene Masstragelis (Image: Sina Aebischer).
Meanwhile, Poetry Slam, a poetry competition from the US, has blossomed into a popular leisure event in Switzerland. There are also some slam poets at the University of Basel who regularly reveal their thoughts and feelings on stage – Selene Masstragelis being one of them.
Poetry slams have been held in Switzerland for many years. Still, the events remain exciting. Because there will always be new people who want to try their hand at the competition, who will put their thoughts on paper and finally to the microphone.
Brand new is Selene Masstragelis, student of German and philosophy at the University of Basel. Literature inspires Selene, no matter what form it takes: “What interests me so much about literature is how people try to process the world they live in, the things they experience in texts.”
With Poetry Slam, Selene found a form of literature for herself this year. The first appearance was at the Open List Slam in the barracks, after which Selene qualified for the finals in the preliminary round of the U20 championship.
A small set of rules for big emotions
The rules of slam poetry are fairly simple. The lyrics must not be longer than six minutes, the poets must write them themselves, props are not allowed on stage and anyone who sings more than fifty percent of the time will be disqualified. But what actually makes a good text slam?
“I think if a text completely misses a person, then something’s gone wrong,” Selene says, laughing. Poetry slams have to trigger something, either positive or negative. When Selene is on stage, emotion is the ultimate goal.
Selene has clear plans for herself: “I feel like my lyrics have always been very similar. It often revolves around the same somewhat sad themes, which is fine, but I don’t think I’ve found my style yet. I’d like to elaborate on it so I can maybe expand on the topic a bit more.’
Diverse texts that require courage
Watching the poetry competition is fun: Anyone who likes words will always find something suitable here, no matter what their mood is: “There are funny lyrics, touching, sad, hateful, exciting,” says Selene. So it will never be boring.
Selena can also recommend the look: It’s great to have a voice and to be able to touch people with poetic language. But courage is needed: “It’s always like a break between what I think I can do and what happens next. And I always realize that I’m really scared and I have to play a bit of a role to pull it off.”
The audience decides
Who advances to the Poetry Slam final is decided by a randomly selected jury: “The audience rates you on a scale of one to ten. You have to be able to stand there, » says Selene. Anyone who reaches the final can present a second text.
Who ultimately wins is determined by the volume of the applause. What can be won is always different: Fame and honor are sometimes complemented by a bottle of whiskey, sometimes by a cactus.
If you want to visit a poetry slam yourself, there is plenty to choose from in Basel. The Slam district on the roof terrace at the Dreispitz on July 25 and August 29 will provide a really good summer mood. For more information and other dates you can go to Slam Basel website decrease of.