There are no poetry readings where I live, so I've never had an opportunity to form an opinion about DEF Jam Poetry. In fact, I'm not sure I know what it is, if you want the truth. Thanks to the wonder of the internet, I've seen a few videos of people giving spoken word performances, which I guess is kind of the same thing. My suspicion is that a bad poem is a bad poem and reading it outloud while dressed in a sari is not going to save it. However, mediocre poetry may be a different story; it isn't all that hard to hide a weak line in the layers of silk wrapped vertically across one's body, especially if the poem is about Iraq, how evil Americans are (a topic in which most people under the age of about 35 agree), refer to guns and killing children at least once, and most especially if you end the line in "Word."
But also thanks to the wonder of the internet and the "Outside" section of the PFFA (some other blog post I'll say why I bother) I had an opportunity to discover at least one Def Jam poet that I like. Though I confess I'm not sure if it's because he's a good poet or if it's because he's tells a good story or both.
The guy's name is Rives. This is his website: Shoplift Windchimes If you search You tube, you'll find him there too. My absolute personal You TUBE favorite is "DEF JAM", his take on deaf kids' poetry. I won't post it here because the profanity is rampant (he's quoting deaf teenagers after all) and my son reads here sometimes and I just don't think I want to explain "Do what I say, not what I do" again.
Here is a video I found on his site.
"Encounters", a video collection his work from various annual TED gatherings is pretty good. My favorite is the one about his sister and their secret language.