Is it OK to perform another slam poet’s work?

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?

“Swallow”: When Poems are Misinterpreted

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

Artistic Crossovers: How Dance Helps with Performance Poetry

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

Transferable Skills: How Slam Poetry Experience Helps in “Real Life”

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”

Does an American Accent help with Slam Poetry?

A comment that I keep receiving after performances is that I “sound right” when I perform slam poetry because of my American accent. I’ve been told by multiple people that my slam performances sound "authentic" since they’re done in an American voice, so lately I’ve been trying to sort out the cultural factors underlying that perception and the … Continue reading Does an American Accent help with Slam Poetry?

Do Confessional Poets Forfeit our Right to Privacy?

Last week I wrote a post about the sensitivity of performing confessional poetry given that it might violate the privacy of those people mentioned in the poems. Today I want to discuss how listeners tend to react to confessional performance poets, both audience members immediately following the performance as well as members of the press and academics. I was … Continue reading Do Confessional Poets Forfeit our Right to Privacy?

Confessional Work: On the Effect of Technology

Last week, I wrote a post on confessional poetry and being conscious of others whose privacy is disrupted in the sharing of personal material. In it I discussed how being a confessional poet requires one to be comfortable with sharing the details in his/her poems with a room of strangers. Luckily, poetry events are generally safe spaces, with the … Continue reading Confessional Work: On the Effect of Technology

Confessional Work: On Respecting Others’ Privacy

Something on my mind lately has been the politics of confessional poetry: how does one honestly perform personal poems while also being mindful of their effect on the people whose privacy is interrupted by these poems? Slam poetry has always been a genre which encourages poets to share intimate details of their lives. Susan B. A. Somers-Willett … Continue reading Confessional Work: On Respecting Others’ Privacy