Emergence of popular poetry recitation as a spoken word art
Like storytelling, poetry recitation is fast turning into a 'Spoken Word Art' (SWA) in an accepted form of performance art. In this sense, poetry writing and recitation often requires the integration and experimentation of poetry with other art forms such as vocal skills, singing speech, rhythmic music, theater, and dance.
These days, many poets are making a living as spoken word artists by performing their works. According to Mark Anthony Neal, in the west, the modern spoken word poetry had originated in 1960s from the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance, blues music and beatniks. It first became popular among the underground African-American community in the US as part of their Civil Rights movement and later as a as a means of livelihood for many.
In modern times, multimedia periodicals like Media Free Times also played an important role to revive the SWA. Currently, poetry as a SWA has moved to the web in the form of webpages, E-zines, Vimeo and YouTube. Poets such as Jefferson Bethke, Kai Davis, Sarah Kay, and many others, are using YouTube and Vimeo to display their spoken word poetic and theatric talents.
Gary Mex Glazner, an SWA enthusiast, observes that the media entertainment world is also trying to popularize poetry as an SWA in a competitive setting by organizing poetry slams, readings and festivals. Even some literature festivals are embracing the more performance side of spoken word tradition. The recent Jaipur Lit Fest also included such sessions to draw more visitors to the event and promote SWA.
Many educators and pedagogues feel the teachers must be trained in SWA skills to enliven their classroom instruction. The advocates of multiple intelligences theory of learning have also recommended that the SWA training to teachers can make learning inclusive for verbally and musically smart students.