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More VERSeFest: Capital Slam Showcase

group piece
Poetic Speed, OpenSecret and Brandon Wint came on stage for a few pieces.

One felt liturgical in a sense of cadence of Father I’m sorry of apologizing for atrocities from fgm to date rape and Montreal Massacre. They recited the names of all the women killed. Afterwards he said I’m sorry for that weight but it has to be said, which is a better transition than I’ve heard after heavy pieces, some self-conscious shrug, not knowing what else to do and seeming to dismiss what came before. Letting that silence sit and then softly shifting to something else was as respectful as the piece itself.

Poetic Speed and OpenSecret
Some other pieces were duo or solo.

applause for PrufRock
The audience was a wave of applause.

PruFrock also shared some ideas in a diversity of styles from rap to political spoken word. One particularly memorable one was this checkbox on forms where you check if you are a visible minority. How about a check box if you’re actually qualified for the position? That’d be handy.

He did a monologue of poetry including a beautiful one about how we think we lift ourselves up and then we look outside ourselves. We can’t fly like birds and compared to the scale of the cosmos we are tinier than tiny. It is humbling to see oneself against all that is.

John Akpata and Graeme on guitar
John Akpata shared the same sort of range of force and delicacy of delivery including a love poem of joy. (I seem to be a sucker for love poems these days). Graeme came on stage with him for some pieces and accompanied on harmonica or guitar.

There was such a controlled modulation of energy, an awareness of what effect the poems are going for and tempering it. It was where poetry met theatre in the sense of performing a poem replicably instead of reciting a poem. Some poets read their word with a vast unfamiliarity with what they could have said here on the page, lost and mumbling. These poets could turn a phrase, turn an idea, examine the subtext of society and respond articulately, emotively or rationally or both and do it for entertainment of themselves and others. Pretty impressive skill sets.

Here’s an article on OpenSecret/ Ikenna Onyegbula who studies law, and on Tuesday will be leading the Pre-Tree workshop at the Arts Court, 6:45-7:45. Different member of their spoken word team, The Recipe, will be facilitating the poetry workshops over the upcoming few sessions.

You probably already saw Amanda’s highlights of the fest?

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