One of my hopes for the new year was to try out new ways of writing and performing, and the start of 2016 has happily involved just that: I've been composing and performing lots of collaborative poems! Before this year I'd never written collaboratively before. Writing poetry had always been an intensely solitary event for me, involving … Continue reading Writing Collaborative Performance Poems
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 … Continue reading Why ‘Slam Poetry’ Is Not a Genre
Now I'm back to the academic schedule, however, and delighted to announce that this October I'm beginning my PhD in English at the University of Strathclyde! I will be researching the way spoken word poetry is used in the U.K. for the expression of marginalised identities. I have many questions I'll be investigating, includin
A different kind of post on the website this week . . . I have a major announcement about my own creative work. As I wrote last week, performance poetry allows fantastic engagement with a live audience, but few tangible products for the audience to purchase after the show. The poet might perform a brilliant set, … Continue reading Launching my Kickstarter!
Recently a friend asked me an excellent, difficult question concerning reproductions of spoken word poems and the ethics of performing someone else's poem. Her query is below: I enjoyed watching the videos of you performing your poems. It got me thinking (I know you wrote a blog post about the difference between writing poetry specifically for … Continue reading Is it OK to perform another slam poet’s work?
One of the first slam poems I wrote is a two-minute piece called "Swallow" which concerns the nuances of female fertility, sterility, and contraception (the poem can be watched here). In the autobiographical piece I express my sadness over the unfairness inherent in a situation in which I, as a young, presumably fertile woman, have the ability … Continue reading “Swallow”: When Poems are Misinterpreted
Although today I identify chiefly as a poet, dance has always been a fundamental element of how I define myself artistically. I began training in classical ballet at the age of five and continued through university, getting a degree in Dance and choreography in the modern style ('contemporary' in British terminology). I’m grateful for this training for … Continue reading Artistic Crossovers: How Dance Helps with Performance Poetry
Last week I posted on how dance training and experience helps one in professional pursuits (acknowledging that the performance of dance alone is a professional pursuit). This week I'm going to discuss how skills developed though the practice of slam poetry are also useful in pursuits outside of that craft. Many of these skills are similar, such … Continue reading Transferable Skills: How Slam Poetry Experience Helps in “Real Life”
I was speaking the other day with a fellow spoken word poet about our favorite "celebrity" slam poets, and we fell into a conversation about what makes a good spoken word piece. Our preferences differed and revealed an interesting divide which I think may derive from our different artistic trainings. This poet was trained in … Continue reading Spoken Word Styles: Narrative v. Abstract
The U.S National Poetry Slam rules require poets to perform pieces they have written: one cannot perform another person’s work at the competition. Slam as a genre is linked to the performance of one's own identity since the poet is physically there onstage with an accent, a skin colour, an apparent sex, etc. These cues affect how … Continue reading Breaking the Authenticity of the Performing Body