There's always some drama that happens right after finals is over. This year it was happening even before the last poet had read. It involves clapping, and if you're on a team, or participating in an event - and how much you clap for your 'opponent.'
Yeah, big controversy in the grand scheme of things. Poets are not putting out burning buildings, but simply trying to cause a different type of heat when on the microphone. Yet, it's been causing a few three figure status update postings on Facebook, because all of the world's problems are solved on Facebook.
"Clap for Everybody," is becoming a catch phrase of poetry slams, and open mics in general. It takes a brave person to get on a microphone in front of a crowd of drunks, then read something about death, injuries that occurred while being raised or a rabid unicorn with herpes - and the poet should be, at the very least, rewarded with polite applause at the end of their poem.
Personally, I try to abide by this. If I like a poem, I give good applause, if I really like one, I clap louder. Who likes every poem though? So maybe if I do not like the tone, or the language, or the poet's t-shirt I'll tap my hands together a couple of times and wait for the next poet. That's me. I'm not turning my back on them while they're reading or throwing stuff at them. I'll take the fifth on checking my email, I do have to work on stopping that.
These days, when I'm slamming, I want to compete with the best poets out there or be beaten by them, so I want everyone involved to give their all. I do try to be encouraging. We all must remember though, it's a game that was invented in a bar, to be played in a bar.
And if my opponents do not want to clap after I read, or even as I approach the stage, so be it. The crowd is what matters most during a slam, otherwise it's just poets playing to other poets and I hope that is not an ultimate goal.
Clap for your poet, so they do not tweet about you, or worse, make it a Facebook status update if you do not.