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Encyclopedia > Spoken word

Spoken word is a form of literary art or artistic performance in which lyrics, poetry, or stories are spoken rather than sung. Spoken-word is often done with a musical background, but emphasis is kept on the speaker. Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ... This article is about the philosophical concept of Art. ... Lyrics are the words in songs. ... This article is about the art form. ... For other uses, see Music (disambiguation). ...

One of the most common sorts of spoken word performances is performance poetry, where a poet either reads previously-published poems, or reads poems specifically written to be performed aloud. Another kind that has gained popularity in recent years is political and social commentary, done in such a way that it is, while still prose, somewhat more artistic than a typical speech. Spoken word artists are often poets and musicians. Spoken word gained notoriety in the late 1980s and early 1990s through the emergence of "poetry slams," where spoken word artists would square off in cabaret-style duels. Performance poetry is poetry that is specifically composed for or during performance before an audience. ... Slam poetry is a postmodern form of performance poetry that occurs within a competitive poetry event, called a slam, at which poets perform their own poems (or, in rare cases, those of others) that are judged on a numeric scale by randomly picked members of the audience. ... Cabaret is a form of entertainment featuring comedy, song, dance, and theatre, distinguished mainly by the performance venue — a restaurant or nightclub with a stage for performances and the audience sitting around the tables (often dining or drinking) watching the performance. ...


Brief History of Spoken Word in the 1990s

In the 1990s, the poetry scene in the United States saw an increased interest in spoken word poetry. This, however, was not the first emergence of spoken word. Spoken word, or poetry spoken aloud, was pioneered in the days of troubadours and storytellers who would recite their poetry aloud to gain recognition. It was not until the invention of the printing press that the emphasis on performance poetry shifted to publishing because of the possibility of increasing the works’ availability. Again, in the 1950s and 1960s, spoken word was revived. An all white male community of writers and poets, The Beats, began using spoken word to express their anti-academic beliefs, and their dislike of societal norms. Then spoken word slipped under the mainstream radar again, until the 1990s. The term beat generation was introduced by Jack Kerouac in approximately 1948 to describe his social circle to the novelist John Clellon Holmes (who published an early novel about the beat generation, titled Go, in 1952, along with a manifesto of sorts in the New York Times Magazine: This is...

The strong, aggressive and, frank style of poetry in the 1990s caused for another surfacing of spoken word in mainstream society. Unlike The Beats, this emergence of spoken word was not necessarily politically driven. This movement focused more on increasing diversity among its performers, reaching out inspiring amateur practitioners, and sending messages of positivity and tolerance. In short, the movement was about brining poetry back to the people. Poets such as Maggie Estep, Reg E. Gaines, Henry Rollins, John S. Hall and Dana Bryant each gained acclaim as spoken word artist as the art form made it to the television screen. MTV took notice of this demand for spoken word entertainment in the mid 1990s. MTV created a television show “Spoken Word Unplugged” to showcase major talents of the movement, but the flame fizzled before a massive interest could take hold. Most of the performers of the generation have branched out into other fields, notably novel writing. During this time period there was a concern: where is the line drawn between rap and spoken word? Some spoken word artists argued that rap is more musical than poetic while spoken word is the inverse. “…Rap is more like song. Spoken word is more like poetry,” said John S. Hall. Other described spoken word as an encompassing term used for all oral performances. Aside from the debate between artist and scholars, the general public agreed that spoken word and rap are two distinct forms of expression.

Not surprisingly, this new fascination in spoken word didn’t escape academic criticism. Some scholars marked the new style of poetry as a “kind of karaoke of the written word,” said Jonathan Galassi, President of the American Academy of Poets. Others felt the drastic popularization of spoken word would cause the mainstream media to cash in and commercialize the movement. Also in criticism, some felt that spoken word poetry could never sustain. Some said it doesn’t translate well enough to recordings and print to make it profitable. They claimed that spoken word was too ephemeral. Their claims were supported by MTV’s decreased interest in supporting the movement as the decade progressed. In the late 1990s, spoken word was far from dead; it was simply sinking below the mainstream radar once again.

Notable performers

Performance poetry

This article does not cite any references or sources. ... William Seward Burroughs II (February 5, 1914) - August 2, 1997; pronounced ), more commonly known as William S. Burroughs, was an American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter and spoken word performer. ... Brother Dash, Dasham K. Brookins, is a spoken word poet from the United States. ... Laurie Anderson (born Laura Phillips Anderson, on June 5, 1947, in Glen Ellyn, Illinois) is an American experimental performance artist and musician. ... John M. Bennett (b. ... Eric Reed Boucher (born June 17, 1958) is more widely known by the stage name Jello Biafra. ... Max Blagg was born in Retford, England in July 22, 1948 ) . He arrived in NYC in 1971 and has stayed there ever since. ... Photo of artist. ... Derrick C. Brown, a poet/performer and former paratrooper, travels the world performing his written work. ... At Bedford Rhythm Festival, 2006. ... Ernest Cline (born in 1972 in Ashland Ohio) is a comedian, spoken word artist and screenwriter. ... Billy Childish (real name Steven John Hamper) or William Charlie Hamper (born December 1, 1959) is an English artist, author, poet, photographer, film maker, singer and guitarist. ... Ani DiFranco (IPA: ) (born Angela Maria Difranco on September 23, 1970) is a singer, guitarist, and songwriter. ... Big Poppa E is the stage name of slam poetry performer Eirik Ott. ... HKB FiNN aka Andrew Ward is a spoken word artist from the UK, who embodies worldly influences that are present in a cosmopolitan city such as London. ... Gigi is a 1945 novel by the French sentimental romance writer Colette about a wealthy cultured man of fashion who discovers that he is in love with a young Parisian girl who is being groomed for a career as a grande cocotte, and eventually marries her. ... Irwin Allen Ginsberg (IPA: ) (June 3, 1926 – April 5, 1997) was an American poet. ... Jesse Glass began writing and publishing experimental poetry c. ... Hedwig Gorski (born Trenton, New Jersey, July 18, 1949 - ) is a performance poet and an avant-garde artist. ... Image:KingIII.jpg John S. Hall John S. Hall is the founder of King Missile (Dog Fly Religion), King Missile, and King Missile III. After a couple of years of pounding away in the lower east side poetry scene, Mr. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Photo of Gil Scott-Heron. ... Lauryn Noel Hill (born May 25, 1975) is an American singer, rapper, musician, record producer and film actress. ... Bob Holman Bob Holman is a poet and poetry activist in the United States. ... Jerome “J-Square” Jones (1968-) is a New York based African-American poet, writer, playwright, speaker and publisher. ... Joolz Denby (1955-) (previously more widely known simply as Joolz) is a poet and novelist based out of Bradford. ... Anthony Joseph The African Origins Of UFOs Anthony Joseph is a Trinidad-born avant garde poet, novelist, Spoken word performer and musician. ... Miranda July Miranda July (born February 1, 1974) is a performance artist, musician, writer, and film director. ... For other persons named Alan Kaufman, see Alan Kaufman (disambiguation). ... Jack Kerouac (pronounced ) (March 12, 1922 – October 21, 1969) was an American novelist, writer, poet, and artist. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Talib Kweli (born Talib Kweli Greene in Brooklyn, New York City on October 3, 1975) is an American MC from Brooklyn, New York. ... The Last Poets is a group of poets and musicians who arose from the late 1960s African American civil rights movements black nationalist thread. ... David Lerner (born in New York City in 1951) is an American renegade poet who wrote poetry you can actually read. ... Tim Speed Levitch (born 1970) is an American actor, tour guide, and speaker. ... Eve Libertine (real name Bronwyn Lloyd Jones) is a British singer. ... Lydia Lunch (born Lydia Koch on June 2, 1959 in Rochester, New York) is an American singer, poet, writer, and actress. ... Taylor McDowell Mali is an American slam poet and high school teacher. ... The following is a list of major characters that appear or have appeared on the Seven Network soap opera Home And Away. ... This article is an autobiography, and may not conform to Wikipedias NPOV policy. ... Gerard McKeown (born 1980) is a writer from Ballymena, Northern Ireland. ... John Rove McManus (born January 21, 1974) is a Gold Logie Award winning Australian variety show host, and owner of the production company Roving Enterprises. ... Susan McMaster is a Canadian poet, literary editor, and spoken word performer who lives in Ottawa, Ontario. ... Anis Mojgani (born: June 13, 1977) is a spoken word poet and musician based out of Portland Oregon. ... For other persons named James or Jim Morrison, see James Morrison. ... Colin Morton (born 1948) is a Canadian poet who lives in Ottawa, Ontario. ... For the german Anarchist Johann Most see here. ... Ken Nordine (born April 13, 1920) is an American voiceover and recording artist best known for his series of Word Jazz albums. ... Evalyn Parry is a Canadian singer/songwriter and actress/playwright who grew up in Toronto, Ontario in the Parkdale Neighborhood. ... Henry Rollins (born February 13, 1961 as Henry Lawrence Garfield) is an American singer and songwriter, spoken word artist and author. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Bio Michael Salinger is a poet/performer and educator living in Northeast Ohio. ... Jill Scott (born April 4, 1972) is an American R&B, soul, and jazz singer, songwriter, and poet. ... Steve Scott (born 1951 in London) is a poet, spoken word artist, and musician among other things. ... Beau Sia (Traditional Chinese: ; Simplified Chinese: ; Pinyin: , Born 1976, Philippines) is a Chinese Filipino-American slam poet. ... Shihan van Clief (born Ron van Clief jr. ... Mark E. Smith (born 5 March 1957) is the lead singer, lyricist, frontman, and sole consistent member of The Fall, a renowned and idiosyncratic offshoot from the UK post-punk/new wave music scenes. ... Patricia Lee (Patti) Smith (born December 30, 1946) is an American musician, singer, and poet. ... Nicky Spesh hails from North London, U.K. An emerging member of the British Hip Hop / Grime scene alongside the likes of Sway DaSafo. ... Rod Summers (born 1943, Dorsetshire, England) is a sound, visual, and conceptual artist, performance poet and dramatist, mail and book artist, publisher, archivist and lecturer on intermedia based in Maastricht, Holland. ... Serj Tankian (Armenian: ) (born August 21, 1967 in Beirut, Lebanon) is a Lebanese-born Armenian-American singer, songwriter, poet, activist, and multi-instrumentalist. ... Tony Tremblay is a french-canadian poet, writer, spoken word artist, journalist and radio personality, born in Jonquière (Québec) in 1968, and now living in Montreal. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Thomas Alan Waits (born December 7, 1949) is an American singer-songwriter, composer, and actor. ... Saul Stacey Williams (born February 29, 1972) is most known for his blend of spoken word poetry and hip-hop. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Emanuel Xavier Granja (born May 3, 1971), known as Emanuel Xavier, is an openly gay American poet, spoken word artist, author[1], editor, events producer and actor born and raised in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn. ... Thomas Winter can refer to: Thomas Winter (newspaperman), current editor-in-chief of Human Events Thomas Wintour, English conspirator Thomas Winter (artist), German performance and intermedia artist Category: ... Jason DK Wright— also known as D.K., is a Bronx native poet. ... Molly Mali Woods (born in Minnetonka, Minnesota) is a modern indie folk and soul singer-songwriter from Los Angeles. ...

Comedians and other artists

Musician/Comedian Victor Borge For the Cape Verdean politician, see Víctor Borges. ... Lenny Bruce (October 13, 1925 – August 3, 1966), born Leonard Alfred Schneider, was a controversial American stand-up comedian, writer, social critic and satirist of the 1950s and 1960s. ... Rives may refer to: Rives, Tennessee Rives, Missouri Rives Township, Michigan This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... Henry Rollins (born February 13, 1961 as Henry Lawrence Garfield) is an American singer and songwriter, spoken word artist and author. ... Christopher Julius Rock III[5] (born February 7, 1965)[6][7] is an American comedian, actor, screenwriter, television producer, film producer and director. ... For other persons named Robin Williams, see Robin Williams (disambiguation). ... For other persons named Alan Moore, see Alan Moore (disambiguation). ...

Actors and actresses

Dame Judith Anderson, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1934 Dame Judith Anderson, AC DBE (February 10, 1897–January 3, 1992), born Frances Margaret Anderson-Anderson, was an Tony award and Emmy winning stage and film actress who was also nominated for a Grammy and an Oscar. ... Edward James Begley (March 25, 1901 – April 28, 1970) was an American film actor. ... Claire Bloom (born Patricia Claire Blume on February 15, 1931) is a British film and stage actress. ... For other persons named Richard Burton, see Richard Burton (disambiguation). ... José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintron, known as José Ferrer (January 8, 1912-January 26, 1992), was an actor and director, born in Santurce, Puerto Rico. ... Albert Finney (born May 9, 1936 in Salford, Lancashire, England) is a five-time Academy Award-nominated English actor of Irish descent. ... Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH (14 April 1904 – 21 May 2000), known as Sir John Gielgud, was an Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Academy Award-winning British theatre and film actor. ... Sir Cedric Webster Hardwicke (February 19, 1893 - August 6, 1964) was a British actor. ... Dennis Lee Hopper (born May 17, 1936) is an Academy Award-nominated American actor and film-maker. ... James Neville Mason (May 15, 1909 – July 27, 1984) was a three-time Academy Award nominated English actor who attained stardom in both British and American films. ... Siobhán McKenna (May 24, 1922 - November 16, 1986), was a Irish stage and screen actress. ... Laurence Kerr Olivier, Baron Olivier, OM, (IPA: ; 22 May 1907 – 11 July 1989) was an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and four-time Emmy winning English actor, director, and producer. ... Tyrone Edmund Power, Jr. ... Vincent Leonard Price Jr. ... Anthony Quayle Sir John Anthony Quayle (7 September 1913 – 20 October 1989) was an English actor and director. ... Sir Michael Scudamore Redgrave CBE (March 20, 1908—March 21, 1985) was an English actor of great renown. ... Sir Ralph David Richardson (19 December 1902 – 10 October 1983) was an English actor, one of a group of theatrical knights of the mid-20th century who, though more closely associated with the stage, did their best to make the transition to film. ... Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, DBE (born 28 December 1934), better known as Dame Maggie Smith, is a two-time Academy Award, and Emmy-winning English film, stage, and television actress. ... William Alan Shatner (born on March 22, 1931) is a Canadian actor who gained fame for playing James Tiberius Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the television show Star Trek from 1966 to 1969 and in seven of the subsequent movies. ... Miranda July Miranda July (born February 1, 1974) is a performance artist, musician, writer, and film director. ...


Spoken Word Movement Music & the Spoken Word

See also

This article needs additional references or sources for verification. ... A speech is an oral message delivered in public. ...

External links



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