The matter was proved fairly conclusively in January 2004 when the prestigious University of Pennsylvania held a poetry slam at their Kelly Writers House. First Prize was cash money and promised publication in one of their literary periodicals. They opened the competition not just to their own pedigreed students, but to members of the general Philly poetic community.
Present to compete were the well-screened well-trained "Best of the Best" which Ivy League students are supposed to represent. After all, they pay gigantic sums of money ($41,000 a year) to achieve this standing.
However, the event was won by ULAer Frank Walsh, who read his masterpiece "Reagan's Brain" and wowed the audience. Coming in close second was energetic Philly street poet (previously renowned in L.A.) Michael Grover. U of Penn's best finished far behind. From their perspective, the contest was embarrassing.
Would it surprise you to know that Penn reneged on its promise to publish Frank's work? No explanation given. (Though they did at least come through with the cash, which they have plenty of.)
Academy poets are unthinking zombies clinging to outmoded rules and training. They see a poem as a dead object to be dissected by morticians in a laboratory. Underground poets, by contrast, breathe life into their works through the synergy created by public performance. Poetry becomes a vibrant, unpredictable EVENT, as it was at the beginning of its history; compelling words combined with the speaker's passion and energy. (This is the secret to the success of Shakespeare-- whose words, as I've stressed again and again on this blog, were meant to be performed; to be heard, witnessed, viscerally felt.)