No, it never ever has to be a boring reading, but I swear there are so many people, memories of school days in their heads, who cringe at the idea of listening to a poetry reading. As a reaction to that we have Spoken Word movements and poetry slams (I’ll post one or two of my favorites tomorrow). Although all of that might sound a little too much like street rap to the traditional ear, they have their place in bringing poetry back from the brink of destruction.
As we have said in previous posts about bringing poetry back as a relevant art form, even traditional verse can be read in a way that is delightful to the modern ear. Mathew MacFayden and The King Blues are good examples of people who know how to do it. Groups like Poetry Out Loud work to spread that spark to the younger generation. Video productions of the work of Ken Nordine and Billy Collins attest to what video websites have done to put poetry into a contemporary context, capturing the fun of the art, and dispelling the fears of potential boredom. Heck, even London got bombed recently with poems from a helicopter! And I will continue posting about such efforts, as well as some more serious critiques of what the art has done to itself and how it is recovering.
I was telling my friend Kate the other day about some video readings, particularly one of a poem by Philip Larkin called “This Be the Verse,” that could be found on YouTube. And while I wish these folks would make some newer videos, the five that can be found on the I Blame Poetry channel are just absolutely first class productions. I am envious. Here they are as I posted them back in December of 2010.
- At a Poetry Reading (eunoiareview.wordpress.com)
- Why (even we) Hate Poetry (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Rip it up! Why We Read and Write Poetry (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Poetry slamming at Shake the Dust weekend (standard.co.uk)
- Billy Collins on the Trouble with Poetry (dadpoet.wordpress.com)
- Poetry Slam Tuesday (essexonlakechamplain.com)