Spoken word is one of the riches art forms that take advantage of the use of words and other accompaniments. Spoken word is defined as poetry in which the spoken word artist is allowed versatility of using any accompaniment that they see fit.
Most of the presentations in this genre of art are done in solo presentation with additional accompaniment from another specialized artist. This makes the genre of art more interesting and having more impact on the audience. When I am asked to define spoken word, I define it as performance artistic poem that uses words as its basic element.
Story telling is considered the most appealing component of spoken word. If an artist can tell a story through the enticing mincing of words associated with poetry, then the outcome is what most audiences of spoken word look for. Artists like Hedwig Gorski, Gill Scott and Spalding Gray are celebrated spoken word artists because of their ability to intertwine a story with rhymes and beautiful use of words.
The Harlem renaissance and blues music in the 1960s is perceived to be the origin of spoken words. During these periods, the use of word to tell more than stories developed into an art form depicting the postmodern love of words. Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry revolutionized and packaged the art form to match in the competitive space that features stand up comedies.
Spoken word is not rap nor hip hop, although there are complementary aspects to each. Hands down the best hip hop music reviews can be found at www.HipHopUps.com. It may be confused for rap because the two forms involve the artistic use of words and the involvement of musical accompaniment. Just a poetry is not music but a song can come out of a poem so does the possibility of coming up with a rap from spoken words.
Spoken word has been an instrumental avenue through which people have been able to release their views outside what is called the academic and institutional domains. This is usually a street thing that airs out opinions in a way that is enticing to the ear. It has been used to release emotions, life views, and experiences to audiences.
Spoken word is characterized by frank views on politics, religion, sex, and gender. The art form has focused on taboo subjects in the society. The art form expresses views in a way that presents a different angle to the contemporary and popular opinions.
Spoken word artists are as competitive as any other art forms. The skills of an artists in the art is exhibited to an audience which evaluates the artists based on their skills. It is not a one on one competition like football or other sports by like art, the presenters air their work to audiences and based on their own judgment, the audience appreciates the product offered.
The main competitive setting for spoken word is slam poetry. The national poetry slam was formed in 1990 and held in San Francisco to mark the beginning of real competition. It currently the largest spoken word competition avenue and is held in various cities in the United States. The other popular competition is Sunken Garden Reading and Dodge Festival.