Some American spoken-word poetry sprang from Harlem Renaissance, blues, and Beat Generation poetry of the 1960s. In African American culture, spoken word draws on a rich literary and musical tradition. The poetry slam was founded in November 1984 by American poet Marc Smith. He held his first competition at New York's Poetry Project (now called Poetry Project Center) where he was director.
In addition to being a writer, Smith was also a musician who played drums. He had been performing with other musicians since age 14. In 1984, he formed a spoken word group called the Def Poets' Society with several other poets. Their goal was to promote their work by doing performances around New York City. The group included Bruce Byron King, Jr., William Everson, and Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones). On August 8, 1986, they held their first slam at the Project. It was an immediate success and has been held annually there ever since.
Spoken word is not limited to black Americans. Latino Americans have created their own form of spoken word poetry called micropoetry. It started in the 1980s among Hispanic and Latino Americans living in New York City. First-generation immigrants used poetry as a way to express themselves in English while learning its language. Many micropoets were also involved in or influenced by the underground hip hop movement.
The word "slam poetry" merely refers to poems recited during slams. Spoken Word Poetry (sometimes known as performance poetry) is simply poetry designed to be spoken aloud. Although all slam poetry is spoken word, not all spoken word poetry is written for slams. The term "slam" was originally used to describe underground poetry readings in New York City in the early 1990s.
Spoken word poets often use an electric microphone and audio equipment such as compact discs or laptop computers to read their work in front of an audience. Slam poetry performances can be held in nightclubs, universities, churches, or any other venue where there is a stage suitable for speakers. Unlike regular poems that are composed using standard metrics (for example, iambic pentameter), spoken word poems are not scored nor do they follow a strict pattern of syllabic count. Instead, they are crafted with the intent to be read quickly on the tongue, so many words are omitted or shortened. Additionally, the speaker may pause at any time while reading to reflect on what has been said or to gather inspiration before continuing.
Slam poetry began as an underground movement in New York City but has since become popular across the United States and internationally. Some famous spoken word poets include Amiri Baraka (formerly known as LeRoi Jones), Carl Phillips, and Kevin Smith.
A wide term for poetry written for performance. Though some spoken word poetry is published on paper, the genre's roots are in oral traditions and performance. Rap, hip-hop, narrative, drama, and jazz, as well as rock, blues, and folk music, may all be found in spoken word. The poet speaks directly to the audience, often using audio technology to create a live performance.
Spoken word artists use a variety of tools to create their work including recordings, CDs, MP3s, podcasts, and digital files. They may write or perform songs, poems, chants, jingles, stories, or anything else that can be delivered orally. Spoken word artists usually have an intimate connection with their audiences - sometimes through radio stations or clubs where they perform - which allows them to express themselves freely without worrying about technical errors or writing something inappropriate.
In addition to rap, hip-hop, and other genres that are popular in the United States, spoken word poetry is common in countries like India, Nigeria, and Canada. It has become increasingly popular among students too, especially in the United Kingdom where it is known as "spoken word."
Spoken word poetry is different from traditional poetry because it uses words instead of lines or stanzas. This type of poetry is easy to understand and enjoy for anyone who has ever listened to rap or hip-hop music.
It began in the 17th century with efforts by American colonists to add their voices to English poetry, even before the Thirteen Colonies' formal unity (although a strong oral tradition often likened to poetry already existed among Native American societies). The first known poet born in the United States is George Herbert. He was born on April 23, 1593, in Devonshire, England.
Herbert's father was a wealthy landowner and his mother was Lady Herbert, who died when he was only nine years old. When he was 20, Herbert married Elizabeth Walker, who gave birth to five children. Two of them, a son and daughter, survived past infancy. After his wife's death, he married again, this time to a woman named Anne Cole. They had one child together; she also lived past infancy. After Anne's death, George Herbert remarried yet again, this time to a woman named Katherine Chidley. They had three children together; two of them also lived past infancy.
In 1631, at the age of 30, George Herbert entered into a religious order called the Society of Jesus or Jesuits. His goal was to become a priest but he died before completing his training. However, through his work as a poet, he has had an impact on modern poetry throughout the world.