Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Private Irrelevance of Spoken Word Poetry

In order to prevent you from thinking that my concerns are solely with academic poetry, I must point out that spoken word/slam poetry/black urban poetry suffers from the opposite afflicition of modern academic AABC poetry (MAP). That is, it exists solely in the public sphere. This makes it much more prominent (and indeed, profitable) than MAP but it still doesn't make it complete.

Poetry, like all art, must sufficiently balance itself between the public and private spheres so that it:
1) enriches both the individual and the community
2) creates a dialogue between the two
3) and serves as a storage of communication and information over time.

If poetry is simply public, it will not be preserved. If it is simply private, it will not be shared. Poetry, as art, must be both.

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