I am a fan of spoken poetry. I don’t mean poetry written in a book that is then read aloud. I mean poetry that is created to be spoken. Well, spoken is really an understatement – perform is a better term. I was introduced to spoken poetry through Def Poetry (a show on many moons ago that was produced by Russel Simmons), but Def Poetry’s roots exist in Poetry Slams. Poetry Slams are competitions where poets compete with their spoken poems – Def Poetry really was more about creating a vehicle for sharing the art form than competition. The spoken poems are typically powerful statements about love, despair, life and the ills of society – hence, they are the same as traditional poetry…except they are not merely read – they are performed. The emphasis, the power, the intonation, the pauses – they all matter in this arena.
Yesterday on Facebook a friend of mine who is also an educator posted a YouTube video that featured a Taylor Mali slam about teachers. I strongly encourage you to watch this video and experience Mali’s poetry. As an added bonus for educators I will link here Mali’s slam called “The The Impotence of Proofreading” – but I caution you that while funny and all too familiar to educators it does have some terms/words that are risque (hence, probably not for showing to students – only for a grader’s own amusement and/or despair).
I send love and support to all the educators out there as the 2010-2011 year begins in earnest – you may not know it every day and you will certainly never be reminded of it enough, but you are powerful in your influence and your work is incredibly important. My heart is with you in the day-in, day-out activities of the academic year and I want you to know that I know what a teacher makes…a difference.
Day four hundred and thirty of the new forty – obla di obla da