Gr 9 Up
As in The Spoken Word Revolution (Sourcebooks, 2003), Redux provides an overview of the many movements-among them slam and hip-hop-that comprise a modern renaissance of performance poetry, a shout-out to poetry's oral roots. Teens will recognize some of the writers and performers, from actor Ethan Hawke to Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan. The placement of traditional poets' work and readings next to those of today's performance artists forces readers/listeners to question the very definition of poetry. Critical essays punctuate the selections, further unraveling such questions as, "What is poetry's intent?" Or, simply, "What is poetry?" Clearly, in a collection dedicated to performance poetry, the accompanying CD is of vital importance. It includes only a selection of the book's poems, complete with sometimes-explicit but never gratuitous lyrics, and not all are performed in their entirety. While the CD gives the book its legs, today's students and educators will undoubtedly itch for a DVD or even downloadable video file to experience the full effect of the poem's delivery. Ultimately, much of Redux retreads the same ground as its predecessor, but it remains a well-crafted, dynamic tool that will not only enliven any poetry classroom, but also legitimizes art forms that are important to many of today's students.
Jill Heritage MazaCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
From its earliest days to today, poetry has always been a spoken art.
Gr 9 Up
Read an Excerpt
Café, celebrated in song, story, and The United States of Poetry, which has been both a TV program and a book.
Here, excerpted from the book, is co-editor Bob Holman's characterization of the Slam scene:
Yes, the Poetry Slam, whose very name sends terror to the civilized. The Poetry Slam, those mock Olympics with judges selected randomly from the audience, judges who dare to score the poem between zero ("a poem that should never have been written") and ten ("a poem causing simultaneous orgasm throughout the audience"). But please use the Dewey Decimal System of Slam Scorification-if there's a tie, we must resort to the Dreaded Sudden-Death Spontaneous Haiku Overtime Round! With tongue in cheek (usually), and competition itself competing with irony and hype, the Slams have brought Whitman's "muscular art" [power] upon the ear of the populace. The Slam is now the most potent grass-roots arts movement in the country, existing in over thirty cities, with an annual National Slam that attracts hundreds of poets...More than anything else, at a time when "poetry readings" connoted a beard chained to a podium, a muffled voice, and an airless ear, Slams allowed a generation to attend a poetry reading without saying they were going to a poetry reading.2
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