What is Spoken Word anyway?by Penelope Starr on Jul. 15, 2009, under Arts
A few years ago I got a mini grant from Tucson Pima Arts Council to create a website for the loose collection of individuals, organizations and venues calling themselves the Tucson Spoken Word Network. WordsOnFire.org was online for about 3 years until it died a natural death due to lack of energy, not because it wasn’t needed.
In determining what is Spoken Word and who is a Spoken Word artist, we decided to spread the definition net wider rather than narrower. Slam poets memorize their words. Monologists read them. Storytellers tell them. Authors read from their books. Comediennes do what they do. Bookstores, cafes and libraries host spoken word events.
So in this blog I’ll be referring to Spoken Word as any performance where the word is spoken ~ poetry slam, storytelling, author reading, stand-up, performance art and things we haven’t even thought of yet. And that’s the exciting thing about this ancient and brand new art form.
Implied in all this, of course, is that there are listeners. The audience completes the experience.
Events can be multigenerational or devoted to a particular age group; they can invite the wider community or be geared to a specific population; they can be open to the public or presented to a select audience.
Our goals for Words On Fire were to create an audience by educating people as to the diversity, interest and fun of Spoken Word events, create a central coordinated resource and calendar, coordinate dates so that we don’t compete and collaborate on Spoken Word “festivals”, however they might evolve.
Very ambitious, which might be why the energy ebbed for WoF. Now it’s flowing again. Let me know about your events and I’ll do my best to include them in this blog.