Spoken Word & Poetry

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Spoken Word & Poetry
Spoken Word & Poetry
Spoken Word & Poetry
Spoken word is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play and intonation and voice inflection. It is a ‘catchall’ that includes any kind of poetry recited aloud, including hip-hop, jazz poetry, poetry slams, traditional poetry readings and can include comedy routines and ‘prose monologues’.
Spoken Word is poetry intended for onstage performance, rather than exclusively designed for the page. While often associated with hip-hop culture, it also has strong ties to storytelling, modern poetry, post-modern performance, and monologue theatre, as well as jazz, blues, and folk music.
Due to its immediacy and direct rapport with its audience, this type of poetry often contains references to current events and issues relevant to a contemporary audience.
At its best, spoken word is a powerful, high-energy form of expression that attracts artists and audiences of all ages from a wide range of disciplines and socio-cultural backgrounds.
Spoken word has existed for many years. Long before writing, through a cycle of practicing, listening and memorizing, each language drew on its resources of sound structure for aural patterns that made spoken poetry very different from ordinary discourse and easier to commit to memory.
‘There were poets long before there were printing presses, poetry is primarily oral utterance, to be said aloud, to be heard.’  Poetry, like music, appeals to the ear, an effect known as euphony or onamatopoeia, a device to represent a thing or action by a word that imitates sound. ‘Speak again, Speak like rain’ was how Kikuyu East African tribesmen described her verse to author Isak Dinesen, confirming Eliot’s comment that ‘poetry remains one person talking to another.
The oral tradition is one that is conveyed primarily by speech as opposed to writing, in predominantly oral cultures proverbs (also known as maxims) are convenient vehicles for conveying simple beliefs and cultural attitudes. ‘The hearing knowledge we bring to a line of poetry is a knowledge of a pattern of speech we have known since we were infants’.
Performance poetry, which is kindred to performance art, is explicitly written to be performed aloud. and consciously shuns the written form.  ‘Form’, as Donald Hall records ‘was never more than an extension of content.’  In the African traditions, it included drumming, and the use of the ‘talking drum’.
In ancient Greece, the spoken word was the most trusted repository for the best of their thought, and inducements would be offered to men (such as the rhapsodes) who set themselves the task of developing minds capable of retaining and voices capable of communicating the treasures of their culture. The Ancient Greeks included Greek lyric, which is similar to spoken-word poetry, in their Olympic Games.
The most notable U.S. exponent of oral poetry, Vachel Lindsay, helped to keep alive the appreciation of poetry as a spoken art in the early twentieth century. Robert Frost also spoke well, his metre accommodating his natural sentences.  Poet laureate, Robert Pinsky, also an advocate, considered ‘Poetry’s proper culmination is to be read aloud by someone’s voice, whoever reads a poem aloud becomes the proper medium for the poem.  Every speaker intuitively courses through manipulation of sounds, it is almost as though ‘we sing to one another all day’. Sound once imagined through the eye gradually gave body to poems through performance, and late in the 1950s reading aloud erupted in the United States’.
Some American spoken-word poetry originated from the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance,  blues music, as well as the 1960s Beat Generation.  Spoken word in African American culture drew on a rich literary and musical heritage. Langston Hughes and writers of the Harlem Renaissance were inspired by the feelings of the blues and spirituals, hip-hop and slam poetry artists were inspired by poets such as Hughes in their word stylings.
The Civil Rights Movement also influenced spoken word. Notable speeches such as Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream,” Sojourner Truth’s “Ain’t I a Woman?” and Booker T. Washington’s “Cast Down Your Buckets” incorporated elements of oration that influenced the spoken word movement within the African American community. The Last Poets was a poetry and political music group formed during the 1960s that was born out of the Civil Rights movement, and helped increase the popularity of spoken word within African American culture.
Spoken word poetry entered into wider American culture following the release of Gil Scott-Heron’s spoken-word poem The Revolution Will Not Be Televised on the album Small Talk at 125th and Lenox in 1970. The Nuyorican Poets Café on New York’s Lower Eastside was founded in 1973, and is one of the oldest American venues for presenting spoken-word poetry.
In the 1980s, competitive spoken word poetry competitions emerged, labelled ‘poetry slams.’ American poet Marc Smith is credited with starting the poetry slam in November 1984. In 1990, the first National Poetry Slam took place in Fort Mason, San Francisco.
The poetry slam movement reached a wider audience following Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry, which was aired on HBO between 2002 and 2007.
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“Howl” is a poem written by Allen Ginsberg in 1955, published as part of his 1956 collection of poetry titled Howl and Other Poems, and dedicated to Carl Solomon.
Ginsberg began work on “Howl” as early as 1954. In the Paul Blackburn Tape Archive at the University of California, San Diego, Ginsberg can be heard reading early drafts of his poem to his fellow writing associates. “Howl” is considered to be one of the great works of American literature. It came to be associated with the group of writers known as the Beat Generation.
Listen to “Howl” by Allen Ginsberg and more ………………

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Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins
Henry Rollins, whose outspoken views and activism work have made him one of punk’s most political alumni, spends most of his time writing a weekly column for alternative newspaper LA Weekly, taking on various acting roles, curating a radio show for Los Angeles-based KCRW and going on extensive spoken-word tours. He recently launched another extensive spoken-word tour in North America where he reflected his insights on his wide travels and shared his commentary on the recent nature of politics with a touch of Rollins humor for his audiences.
Henry Rollins (born Henry Lawrence Garfield; February 13, 1961) is an American musician, actor, writer, television and radio host, and comedian. He hosts a weekly radio show on KCRW, and is a regular columnist for LA Weekly and Rolling Stone Australia.
 Listen to Henry Rollins: Wacken Open Air 2016 Spoken-Word Performance………….

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