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Just Slammin! Adolescents’ Construction of Identity Through Performance Poetry


  • Lynn L. Rudd


Using a case study design, this study investigated the literacy identity, both collectively and individually, of the members of Slammin!, a slam poetry team from an urban high school. Participant observation of practices and performances was used to find how the involvement in this group uniquely impacted students’ academic and personal lives. Data was also collected from individual and small group interviews. Results show that the Slammin! poets were engaged in identity formation activities by means of their group experiences. Their efforts to be successful poets seem to be intimately connected to their efforts and goals to develop successful selves as artists, students, and members of a familial type of group. The poets consistently speak of their dedication to poetry and their team as part of their commitment to be different and the circumstances that define them as outcasts from the culture that surrounds them.