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Spoken word poetry (Topical Term)

Preferred form: Spoken word poetry
Used for/see from:
  • Spoken word poems
See also:

Work cat.: Listen up! : spoken word poetry, 1999.

Fisher, M.T. Writing in rhythm: spoken word poetry in urban classrooms, c2007.

What is spoken word poetry?, via Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art website, Nov. 15, 2012 (Spoken word poetry is poetry that is written on a page but performed for an audience. Because it is performed, this poetry tends to demonstrate a heavy use of rhythm, improvisation, free association, rhymes, rich poetic phrases, word play and slang. It is more aggressive and "in your face" than more traditional forms of poetry; spoken word poems are written to be performed)

Defining spoken word, via SpokenOak website, Nov. 15, 2012 (Spoken Word is a term adopted by academia in the early 80's to recognize a wave of new word-based performance art that came springing out of the Postmodern Art Movement. Spoken Word was basically a catch-all category to lump together anything that didn't fit into the already well established categories of performance: Music, Theatre & Dance. Some word performance art had been around for eons--storytelling, sound-emphasis poetry, African American toasting, reggae riddims--these forms just hadn't received much attention and suddenly the well-educated acknowledged the exclusion, suddenly people felt politically incorrect. For the sake of scholarly study & to secure federal arts funding, however, academia seems to have settled on a definition: Spoken Word is a category of performance art to encompass any new seriously developed genre or traditional form that is primarily word-based & is not exclusively Music, Theatre or Dance but may include collaborations with other non-word-based art genres or works created in collaboration with artists from non-word-based disciplines.)

The American heritage dictionary of the English language, ©2000, via TheFreeDictionary.com, Nov. 15, 2012 (spoken-word: 1. Spoken aloud, especially in performance: spoken-word poetry. 2. Performing or involving a performance of the spoken word.)

Wikipedia, Nov. 15, 2012: Spoken word (Spoken word is a form of poetry that often uses alliterated prose or verse and occasionally uses metered verse to express social commentary. Traditionally it is in the first person, is from the poet's point of view and is themed in current events. In entertainment, spoken word performances generally consist of storytelling or poetry, exemplified by people like Hedwig Gorski, Gil Scott Heron and the lengthy monologues by Spalding Gray.) Sound poetry (Sound poetry is an artistic form bridging between literary and musical composition, in which the phonetic aspects of human speech are foregrounded instead of more conventional semantic and syntactic values; "verse without words". By definition, sound poetry is intended primarily for performance.)

The Princeton encyclopedia of poetry and poetics, c2012 (Spoken word, see Performance, Poetry slam; under Poetry slam: The poetry slam is part of a broad late 20th-c. resurgence of the spoken word.)

Encyclopedia of American poetry, 2001, via Credo reference Jan. 14, 2013: Performance poetry ( Spoken Word poetry may well be the "people's poetry movement" of the late 20th century since its popular success is often linked to its association with contemporary identity politics. The current wave of Spoken Word poets are largely minority artists, and their poetic "voices" speak of specific cultural identities, whether connected with race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality. Quite often, the poetic speaker is nearly indistinguishable from the performing poet's body on stage, as the poet stands up before the audience to embody a local (and often bilingual) identity and to defend it against immense pressures to assimilate. Although Spoken Word artists are fundamentally entertainers, they also seek to build and foster communities of the disenfranchised. Much of the poetry is heavily stressed, metrically regular, and marked by extensive use of rhyme, alliteration, and assonance. Relying on quotidian language to speak of everyday life and often speaking in local idioms, dialects, or vernaculars (e.g., Lois-Ann Yamanaka's Hawaiian island pidgin poetry), the language of the class or cultural group to which the performance poet belongs becomes a political issue. Making theater out of social conflict and emphasizing the poem's status as speech act, the Spoken Word challenges our notions of what counts as "literary.")

Myers, J. Dictionary of poetic terms, c2003.

Here are entered works on poems that are meant to be performed and that are heavily stressed, metrically regular, and are characterized by improvisation, free association, and word play. Works on poems that are meant to be performed that emphasize sounds instead of semantics for their meaning are entered under Sound poetry.

Note under Sound poetry