Thursday, 13 December 2012

How Spoken Word In Education Is Changing The Landscape For Modern Poets

This year Goldsmith University launched their first Spoken Word Education module as part of the Teacher / Writer MA program and I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the six London Spoken Word poets piloting it. The other five are Indigo Williams, Keith Jarrett, Dean Atta, Cat Brogan and Pete The Temp – If you know your Spoken Word poets you’ll be familiar with these names.

Since September we’ve been going into a secondary school in East London and leading lessons on poetry and performance as well as setting up a Spoken Word poetry after school club which had over eighty sign ups from years 7, 8 and 9.

Peter Kahn coordinates the program, a teacher at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Chicago. He runs the largest school-based spoken word club in the world and is featured in the award-winning documentary Louder Than a Bomb. 

The project is also partnered by some of the UK’s leading institutions and organisations such as Apples and Snakes, Avron and Spread the word. 

We challenge the idea that “poems are old fashioned and have to rhyme” and we get students talking and writing from their personal experiences to generate poetry in their own voices. Many teachers have already given positive feedback about the impact of having poets in their school. Some students really open up in their poetry and it can get emotional. This has been a good way to hear the kids that are calling for help. Ultimately we have a lot of fun with language, performance games and watching the kids develop as young poets. We’re all coming across more and more talented young poets and we call it our mission to nurture talent and give poets higher platforms to aspire to. This will change the landscape of Spoken Word and poetry for a new generation. 

I didn’t discover Spoken Word until I was twenty but if a quality poet came into my school when I was fourteen I definitely would have been hooked sooner.

Some of the top Spoken Word Educators in the country including Jacob Sam La Rose, Simon Mole, Polarbear, Charlie Dark and Hollie McNish all make a living mentoring young poets and improving the standards of Spoken Word poetry nationwide.

The more exposure top quality poets receive the more impact Spoken Word poetry will make as an art form.

If you know of any schools that would be interested in setting up a Spoken Word Club please contact :

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