Speedy form and poetry presentation
last week: you can read and savor
the PP in Blackboard!
Don’t forget optional poetry project.
Fiction project due any time.
Tomorrow: Visual Tradition in Poetry
(and Option 2 of Poetry Project #2)
Wed: Workshop Mania
Poetry Project #2: 10 pts.
The Oral Tradition You have your choicefor
2 options! Click here
This spoken word tradition has roots that go very far back
in Western history. The Beat movement of the 1950s
revitalized it for contemporary America, and it has since
been going strong with the advent of poetry "slams" in the
1980s. Closely linked to rap and street culture, spoken
word poetry tends to be relatively raw, energetic, outward-
directed and reliant upon a good stage performance. That
is, it may not always hold up especially well on paper, but
that is not its intended medium. Spoken word must be
delivered live, and the "acting" of the speaker is a big part
of the work itself. Poetry slams, when done well, are
delirious, energetic, and very interactive—the audience
talks, hollers, judges...basically acts as part of the
For this option, you should write a poem which is meant
to be performed. You'll hand it in with your other
chapbook materials, but you will also perform it for the
class. Draw on our class viewing of SlamNation or our for
a little background on this genre, and try, if you can, to
attend a slam in town while you're working on your poem.
Spoken Word Poetry
The Oral Tradition
This stuff is really old…
• Homer 800 BC
• Old English poetry 400 AD
• Native American 8000 BC to present
• The Beats 1950s
• Slam Poetry 1980s to present
How do slams work?
Listen to Spoken Word selections,
plus Beat poems with jazz accompaniment
Special Note for April 15th: we’ll do this on April 22nd!!!!
Bring a barret, some bongos, a mocaccino…
• Blurring the line between poetry and theater; performances
are like one-person, one-act plays.
• Aggressive, clever, sometimes funny rhyme, not in any
strict pattern (triple rhymes, internal rhymes, slant rhymes,
repeated words, etc. In video, “Lazarus, Lazie, Lazy”).
• Projection! Loud broadcast.
• Number of unstressed syllables don’t matter, maybe.
Success depends on how cleverly you get the four stresses
• Getting into a groove.
• Memorizing the material adds interest.
• Mixing genres: insert singing, use accompanying sound,
• Ritual presence of performer.
Spoken Word Performance
Perform a spoken piece for the class, roughly 5-10
minutes. This should, ideally, be original work you’ve
Feel free to use sound effects, music, special garb.
Pay attention to “Spoken Word Poetry” Power Point,
and “What makes a good spoken word performance?”
slide. Also heed the audio samples played in class,
and tips offered during our discussion.
Criteria—Performance should be
Energetic and/or of adequate intensity