Five Spoken Word Poets Here to Slam Your World

The Writer's Bloc

Prepare to have your greatest fears fleshed out before your eyes.

Get ready to insist on getting your pronouns right, to question stigmas associated with race, sexuality, gender and mental health.

Prepare to be more aware of the dire consequences of silence.

The following progressive poets use the medium of spoken word poetry to bring about change.

Roger Bonair-Agard

Pronouns: He, Him, His

Roger Bonair-Agard is a self-proclaimed “Trinidadian, writer [and] shit-taker.” His poetry weaves together humor, satire and tragedy in order to create a portrait of race relations in the United States.

His performance of the poem “The All Black Penguin” is chilling. He stands with what looks like a glass of dark liqueur in one hand; he sips it as he pauses between lines. His other hand is outstretched in defiance. The poem is a satire about race relations in America through the lens of…

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Echo Chambers : Assessing The Artistry of Erotic Spoken Word

nomabarweb2nomabarweb2Derek Berry and I have a long standing debate.

As poets, we strive to maintain a certain level of respect for all poetry and the poets that do it.  Despite, poets are people too and we each have our likes and dislikes.  I dislike the suicidal stuff.  Derek Berry, heaven help him, dislikes erotic poetry.

The debate is about the skill involved, and whether erotic poetry should be considered ‘art’.  “I appreciate erotic poetry for its commercial value and understand the poetry as entertainment”, says Berry.  “Sometimes, erotic poetry transcends (Neruda, Natalie Diaz), but mostly I see it as entertainment“.

An Example Of An Erotic Poetry Show That Derek Berry Will Not Be At

Erotic poetry definitely has its detractors.  There are those who feel that it isn’t an art form any more than pornography is.  There are those that find it in poor taste.  Personally, I’ve noticed that many poets are able to use the prolific nature of erotic subject matter to distract from the skill on display.


Echo Chambers : An Evolution of Spoken Forms

Saul WilliamsA (Very) Brief History of Poetic Performance

It’s never easy to say where exactly an art form comes from.  The oratory tradition, itself, dates back to our earliest days when story telling was among the best ways to gather and spread information.  Through the passage of time, the oral tradition has ranged in traction and importance but has always been prevalent. For instance, dating back to the 14th Century, the West African ‘griot’ was not just a poet/bard, but was often a royal adviser. During the Grecian Olympic games, the use of of poetry known as ‘lyric’ was used to commence the ceremonies.  Even today, different oratorical poetic movements exist throughout the world, and provide a voice for the human experience.

What is our Modern Oratorical Tradition?

Spoken-word is a very recent phenomenon starting in the 1960s. Post-modernist in origin, spoken-word appealed to the underground black and beatnik scenes born out of the Harlem Renaissance.  The Last Poets were early leaders in the art form, a form that inspired not just the catalysis of the spoken-word revolution, but early forms of hip-hop as well.