Why do you perform spoken word?

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benjaminsolah
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Why do you perform spoken word?

Post by benjaminsolah » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:18 pm

One question that was asked on the first episode of our podcast, and a question that we hear a variety of answers for is why of getting into spoken word. We wanna know why you started doing it, why you feel drawn to performing/reading your work, what keeps you coming back to spoken word events? It's one of those questions where there's no right or wrong answers.
"...no-holds-barred, passionate..." - Ali Alizadeh | "Here is truly a writer to be reckoned with" - Maxine Beneba Clarke

Benjamin Solah is a spoken word artist, poet, writer and political activist, raised in the western suburbs of Sydney, now based in Melbourne. His performance style ranges from passionate denunciations of the system we live in to absurdist stream-of-consciousness on topics from politicians, to video games and football. His work has appeared on stages, pages, screens, through megaphones, in wrestling rings, including many regular poetry events such as Passionate Tongues and The Dan O'Connell, Cordite Poetry, Overland, the NGV and White Night Melbourne. He is the author of broken bodies, a poetic chapbook on the theme of asylum seekers, and two spoken EPs, Duel Power with Santo Cazzati and The World Doesn't Make Sense.

benjaminsolah.com | Official Facebook Page | Twitter: @benjaminsolah

TimT
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Re: Why do you perform spoken word?

Post by TimT » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:40 pm

Because I like it and my works/poems/wordthings have a natural dramatic element to them!

It still seems a bit weird. I grew up without knowing at all about the idea of performing poetry. Since I learned piano, I *did* think a bit about performing music (and *that's* weird too, at least in the classical music field - people playing covers that are centuries old? How crazy is that???) So maybe that's why I tend to make the music comparison these days a bit when making sense of the idea of 'performing' spoken word.

Technically, just as you interpret music dynamically (loud/soft/in between), metrically (fast/slow/starting slow but getting fast/etc), in terms of tone and phrasing (smooth and flowing and lyrical/sharp and short and staccato), and so on, you could apply many of the same thoughts to music. (I reckon a couple of poets, Santo definitely, put a lot of thought into this area). But most important of all is the spirit that gets brought to the words: those words are *someone speaking*. I mean, the poet obviously, but there's also the voice of the poem: there's a character, or characters, that come through the poem to the audience.

(And, this is a minor rant - and you can tune out here if you wish - but how interesting that 'spoken word' and 'performing' are becoming so closely associated with poetry nowadays! English gets the term 'poetry' from Greek: it means 'making' - but the meaning has been obscured, and has probably always been obscure to most people. In Old English, poets were 'scops' - related to 'scoff' - another term for speaking - or 'makaris', ie, 'makers'. In German, a poet is a 'Dichter': one who dictates. It's interesting that we're returning once again, almost without thinking about it, to the original idea of poetry as something spoken after many many centuries).

smashleigh55
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Re: Why do you perform spoken word?

Post by smashleigh55 » Wed Jul 05, 2017 4:16 pm

1) because it helps the mega anxiety I have.
2) cos I have a lot to say
3) writing and then performing really gets me through some awful times. There will always be writing.

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benjaminsolah
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Re: Why do you perform spoken word?

Post by benjaminsolah » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:35 pm

So the thing I'm curious about is the balance between those who do it for community/social/personal/political/therapeutic reasons versus people who choose spoken word above say other forms of writing for artistic/cultural/poetic/academic reasons, and the balance or spectrum of those two, and realising that there's a multitude of motivations for bringing writing to a microphone and reading/performing/speaking in front of other people.
"...no-holds-barred, passionate..." - Ali Alizadeh | "Here is truly a writer to be reckoned with" - Maxine Beneba Clarke

Benjamin Solah is a spoken word artist, poet, writer and political activist, raised in the western suburbs of Sydney, now based in Melbourne. His performance style ranges from passionate denunciations of the system we live in to absurdist stream-of-consciousness on topics from politicians, to video games and football. His work has appeared on stages, pages, screens, through megaphones, in wrestling rings, including many regular poetry events such as Passionate Tongues and The Dan O'Connell, Cordite Poetry, Overland, the NGV and White Night Melbourne. He is the author of broken bodies, a poetic chapbook on the theme of asylum seekers, and two spoken EPs, Duel Power with Santo Cazzati and The World Doesn't Make Sense.

benjaminsolah.com | Official Facebook Page | Twitter: @benjaminsolah

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