BY CHANTAE KNUCKLES
Spoken Word has taken the poetry scene by storm since the 80’s and 90’s. You can hear the earthy, raw, erotic, exciting, and honest art form in many places such as restaurants, coffee houses, museums, universities, church (yes church) and just about wherever people can be found. This art form is contagious, attracting all ages, cultures, and creeds. People are drawn to its electricity on one hand, yet for others, it exudes a solemn and spiritual quality that relaxes the mind and body.
Spoken Word is similar to rapping but there is a distinct difference. Rapping is usually accompanied with some form of rhythmic music, whereas spoken word is usually a narration; it’s music a natural flow of and from the human body releasing emotions that the speaker may have. Those feelings are often used to engage and entertain the audience. The objective is all about presentation, sharing stories and feelings that people don’t normally put out in the open. What’s so great about the art of Spoken Word is that the listeners are drawn into a magnetic field of raw honesty which is the center of spoken word.
Spoken Word is an art form that is steadily rising, birthing new ideas and ways to express emotion and stories as well as entertain listeners. The best quality is that it’s a very positive form of entertainment. There are many venues that cater to this art form throughout California. Major cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Riverside, and Oakland, to name a few are very popular hubs; overflowing with the electric energy and popular spoken word artists like Tshaka, Poetri, and the Inland Empire’s own The Poet X. If you need to find some new venues to check out, the list is unending and far from expendable. Just take a look at this healthy list of venues to visit: http://poetryflash.org/
Believe it or not there are those who don’t acknowledge spoken word as a true extension of poetry but poetry in itself is about self-expression, releasing and sharing uninhibited emotions, going to a place within one’s soul that may be riddled with complexities of life, sadness, or happiness. It’s a place that many benefit from, whether speaking or simply observing, if only they would make the trek to that place of freedom, where happiness and self-discovery abounds for many. Art is what we make it. It is done to express oneself. Those in observation simply benefit from the quest of another’s artistic expressions.