Hello all! Just a quick post today to introduce you to a resource on UK spoken word that I’ve found really interesting and useful. The lovely London-based poet and filmmaker Tyrone Lewis has been interviewing UK poets about their practices and local scenes and turning these interviews into documentaries which he posts on his YouTube channel Process Productions. These documentaries are freely accessible to all and contain some fascinating insights from the UK’s top spoken word artists. In our art form which so rarely receives the critical attention it deserves, these interviews are a great resource for thinking critically about our craft, how we build communities, and how to challenge ourselves to innovate.
The first documentary, ‘NEW SHIT! The Open Mic Documentary’ focuses on the role of the open mic in scene building and supporting emerging artists. It’s linked below:
Tyrone is currently working on a series of episodes focusing on the poetry slam, entitled ‘Scores Please?’ Episode 1: Welcome to the Slam, and Episode 2: It’s All About Style are linked below. Disclaimer: Tyrone kindly interviewed me and several other Loud Poets for this series while he was up at the Edinburgh Fringe last summer, so you may see a couple of familiar faces 🙂
Hope you enjoy, and do check out the rest of the Process Productions YouTube channel – it’s a great resource not only for documentaries but for poems as well! -Katie
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Tagged documentary, interviews, oral poetry, performance poet, performance poetry, poet, poetry, poetry slam, slam poet, Slam poetry, spoken word, UK poetry
My last post responded to the way media sources were misconstruing Sarah Palin’s endorsement speech for Donald Trump as “slam poetry.” I gave several reasons why I consider that use of that term to be inaccurate and rather rude, including that the use of ‘slam poetry’ as shorthand for rambling, incoherent utterances misrepresents a field of poetry generally characterised by tight performances and accessibility. One of the primary reasons I was frustrated with the way this term was used, though, is that ‘slam poetry’ is not a valid term, because it cannot accurate describe an artistic genre. In this post I argue that ‘slam poetry’ as a genre in and of itself does not exist, and suggest some other terminology which more accurately reflects the field of contemporary performance poetry. More after the jump!
Being a performance poet means fantastic live exposure: one can interact with the audience, contextualise poems through between-poem chat, adapt the set for the setting, etc. However, as great as this physical exposure and audience engagement is, performance poetry as a genre also carries with it the drawback that it is ultimately ephemeral. The audience may love your work, but at the end of the night, they have nothing to take home with them: no book, no tangible product to which they can refer later if they want to revisit the poetry. This is a drawback for the poet as well, since by not producing their work through print media they lose out on an important way of making money and marketing themselves. Continue reading