Tag Archives: Literature

Exquisite Haiku: Spoken Word Artist

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Spoken Word Artist

A lover of verse.

Inspired by spoken words

that express living.

by Michelle Lynn Thompson 04/14/2012

National Poetry Month: It’s Your Turn! Read A Poem at an Open Mic

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It’s your turn!  Below are some great tips form the Academy of American Poets on how to prepare for your Open Mic performance!

Chances are you’ve walked by your local coffee shop or neighborhood bar and seen a crowd of people listening to a poet reading his or her work. Usually free or requiring a small cover charge, open mic (short for “microphone”) readings are for anyone who wants to read their poetry in a public venue. Sometimes open mic nights have a featured reader or writing workshop, but generally there is a sign-up sheet for anyone interested. Each poet is called to step up to the microphone and read a poem or two.

Participating in an open mic reading can be a lot of fun. Some people attend just to listen, others to try out a new poem for an audience, and still others stop by to see if any crazy hijinks will ensue during the reading. It’s a great way to meet other writers in your area and find out about your local writing community. Check your local newspaper or library, ask at your local coffee house, or find a writers’ group in your area for information.

Here are some general public speaking tips to get you started:

  • DO keep it short. If you see the MC tapping their watch or looking desperate, finish your poem and exit the stage gracefully.
  • DO try to eliminate filler from your speech, as in “um, uh, well, yeah” and do speak clearly into the microphone. (If there is no microphone and you feel uncomfortable speaking loudly, clear diction will help your voice carry.)
  • DO look at the audience when you can. Eye contact will always energize a performance. DO relax and have a good time! If you look comfortable in front of a crowd, the crowd will feel comfortable looking at you.

Is There a Such a Thing as a Spoken Word Matinee?

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Spoken Word artists inspire me!  I have had the opportunity to visit several different venues over the years, and I have heard some very talented wordsmiths.  I marvel at how they choose the perfect words, and weave them into intricate layers of verse and meaning.

Many of the local venues host Open Mics, but they usually are held on a weeknight and don’t start until 9:00 p.m.  Now, I know my concern is a direct reflection of my age, and my LOVE for sleep, but is it  just UNCOOL to have a Spoken Word Matinee?

After talking about our love for the Spoken Word and our desire to attend more events with my “let’s-not-just-talk-about-it ~ let’s do it!” friend V, I received an email invitation to a Poetry Slam Meet-Up event.  The best part about the invitation to the Spoken Word gathering was that it would be on a Saturday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Now, that’s what I’m talking about!

We had our first event in January 2012.  I was so excited because I wanted to challenge myself to get more serious about my writing, to share my work in front of an audience, and to find social opportunities to be with like-minded people.  The event was a BLAST!  We had about 15 people come out to the event.  We had as our foundation that we would share profanity-free works.  I shared three of my poems and it was great to hear the works of old and new friends.  I look forward to each gathering so that I can spend quality time celebrating the creative pursuits of my new circle of companions.

It is very exciting for me to be in this season of my journey, where exploring my creative passions is providing me with such a wonderful sense of fulfillment and connecting me to some wonderful new friends.

I want to share information about two of my favorite Spoken Word artists –  Rasheed Copeland and Joshua Bennett.  I had the pleasure of hearing Rasheed at a Spoken Word gathering in Maryland.  Link to Rasheed ‘s  Bus Boys & Poets, DC 11th Hour Slam performance of Epiphany for a passionate expression of true love. I fell in love with Joshua Bennett’s work at a college visit to the University of Pennsylvania.  Link to Joshua’s White House Evening of Poetry, Music and the Spoken Word performance of Tamara’s Opus a tribute to Joshua’s appreciation of his sister’s uniqueness.  If you ever get an opportunity to hear Rasheed and Joshua perform live, you will be in for an exquisite experience!

Celebrate National Poetry Month: Sidewalk Chalk and Poetry

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National Poetry Month is about sharing and celebrating the wonder of poetry, and what better way to celebrate than by putting poetry in a public place? Go one step beyond hopscotch squares and write a poem in chalk on your sidewalk!

Pick a favorite line from a poem and choose a clean piece of sidewalk or pavement to write on. You can search for a poem on Poets.org or check your bookshelf for an old favorite. Use brightly colored chalk to attract attention to your work, and add drawings or artistic flourishes to create some extra fun.

Parents can hold a neighborhood poetry contest, with all the participants’ poems written along the sidewalks. Passersby will pause to read the lines and you’ll have put a little poetry into someone’s path.

www.poets.org

April is National Poetry Month

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The 2012 National Poetry Month poster, designed by Chin-Yee Lai.

National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets. The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. Poets.org hopes to increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated.

Visit poets.org for information about how you can engage in the celebration!