'A MUST-READ' Roger Robinson | 'GALVANISING' Luke Kennard | 'CAPTURES LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE' Theri A. Pickens | 'MAGNIFICENT' Cornel WestThe powerful story of an art form that has transformed the cultural landscape, by one of its influential practitioners: an award-winning poet, professor, and slam champion. In 2009, at only 20 years old, Joshua Bennett was invited to recite a poem for President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama at The White House's Evening of Poetry, Music, and the Spoken Word.
With Spike Lee and Saul Williams among the audience members, this turned out to be the very same event where Lin-Manuel Miranda first performed a work-in-progress that revolutionised theatre - Hamilton: The Musical. Blending memoir and literary analysis, Bennett shows how a handful of visionaries altered modern culture. With passion, wit, and erudition, he charts the history of spoken word poetry, as well as his coming-of-age journey as a writer.
From the early influence of Miguel Algarin and the Nuyorican Poets Cafe to Amanda Gorman's inaugural poem, he celebrates the contributions of legendary figures such as Ntozake Shange, Nikki Giovanni, and Miguel Pinero, as well as how artists like MF DOOM, Jill Scott, and Mos Def were inspired to develop their craft within the beautiful tradition they all share. Spoken Word illuminates the profound influence that poetry has had everywhere melodious words are heard, from the West End to academia, from the podiums of political protest to cafes, schools, and rooms full of strangers all across the world.
Dr Joshua Bennett
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