I’ve recently really been enjoying the spoken word renaissance that seems to have taken place- all of a sudden, you can find young, passionate performance poets gracing the stage of festivals (and not just those that specialise in the arts,) poetry slams in ‘hip’ venues in East London and Scroobius Pip live on XFM with his very own spoken word/hip-hop slot. All of this goes to show that London is certainly making space for the bright young spoken word artists who are emerging and people are starting to listen. Poetry doesn’t have to stop when your exams are over and you don’t have to sit and study each rhyming couplet to appreciate the power of the word as an art form. Most of my favourite poets don’t use Shakespeare’s English and aren’t too caught up in form, many of their influences are more hip-hop than Tennyson. For me, it’s the sheer power and force of the ideas they are expressing that is what draws me to hours on YouTube, absorbing spoken word.
If you ever get caught up in the urban rat race, here is your evening’s prescribed viewing…
George The Poet has a calming, mellow style of performance but an irresistibly strong message behind his words, which is something I love- he doesn’t need to shout for his words to be heard, they speak for themselves.
Scroobius Pip is perhaps a little more empassioned but for me, he’s still wearing the crown of spoken word at the moment. I really enjoy his mix of humour and sincerity- if you ever get the opportunity to see him perform spoken word live, take it as you will be amazed, laugh and quite possibly be moved to tears in the space of a few poems.
But it’s not just the boys representing. Kate Tempest is one of the city’s loudest voices and is making real waves, having just won the highly regarded Ted Hughes Award for new work in Poetry.
And finally, my latest discovery is Hollie McNish. She is going to be blogging about spoken word in the lead up to Glastonbury, so if this post has caught your attention, please follow it as she is much more knowledgeable about poetry than I am! (http://poetryandwordsblog.wordpress.com/)
This poem isn’t strictly about London specifically but it’s brilliant and should be heard by women everywhere.