Friday, 11 January 2013

Action Poetry

In the most recent posts, I took a turn at writing poems.  They didn't all rhyme and they weren't all readily understandable.  But! after reading them a dozen times maybe with a dictionary/ thesaurus you figure them out or at the very least get the gist of the message.  They were all in fulfilment of a class assignment but they were also due to a recent surge in interest I have had in this genre of writing and speech delivery.  Today's post will be on Performance Poetry.

Photo of Sarah Kay, Spoken Word Poet
TED Conference (Voted 2011 Best TED Presentation)

Poetry is ...
                  /ˈpəʊɪtri/ literary work in which the expression of feelings and ideas is given intensity by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; a genre of literature.
This is our working definition.  Many things to many people; anyone can conjure up their own definition for poetry but here we will stick to Oxford's.

Performance Poetry is written not for print or reading but to be seen and heard.  The art form has many names: Spoken Word, Stand Up, Dub, Slam; to-may-to/to-mah-to. I will first introduce you to the work of Taylor Mali to open your mind to the wonder of poetry.  This video, "What Teachers Make", is an interpretation of Taylor Mali's poem performed by actors.  Therefore this is a merger between poetry and acting.


A teacher by profession and Page Meets Stage Curator, Taylor has dealt with the situations he describes in this poem.  These are his opinions, this is his burden that he has put to writ and transferred to stage.  In a previous post I tackled the topic of what to write.  While I won't tell anyone what to write I mentioned some of the features of what is considered 'good' literature.  Passion, Plot development, Literary value.  Tell the story that you care about, keep your reader/listener on the edge of the seat and fearlessly use the literary tools that you have.

The next poem is "The Truth Without Photoshop" by P4CM poet Janette...ikz needs no introduction but be warned it will likely draw on your emotions.

The words spoken by Janette...ikz here is truth.  This is her story unapologetically, creatively, hers.  This video shows performance poetry in the manner that it is most often seen; done by the original author, to an audience and without props.

These pieces differ in content and presentation yet are common in that they are poetry in action.  Follow up on these artists and enjoy the world of performance poetry.


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