Roger Bonair-Agard

Next week we’ll be discussing spoken word and poetry slams and looking at some video of slam poets. Some of you have told me you’re interested in writing about this genre of poetry performance, but some of you have also told me that you’ve never been to a poetry slam. While I’ve got some great recordings for us to watch, I have to say that poetry slams work best live; understanding poetry slams really means attending one.

Luckily, there is a great opportunity next Tuesday to see a poetry slam at one of the country’s foremost venues and to catch a performance by Roger Bonair-Agard, winner of the National Poetry Slam Individual Championship and one of the most impressive poet-performers in the history of slam. The event is on Tuesday, Nov. 2nd, just two days before our class on spoken word and slam, so I hope that many of you will come and that it will be the basis of an interesting discussion.

The logistics: we’ll meet at the Bowery Poetry Club at 6:30 pm on Tuesday: 308 Bowery (Between Houston and Bleecker). Take the F train to 2nd Ave, or the 6 train to Bleecker.  If you get there by 6:30 you can sign up for the open mike or the slam if you like (if you plan to take part in the slam, you’ll need to be prepared to perform three different three-minute poems). You can also just watch. Or, you may be asked to be a judge. The Bowery Poetry Club is a very laid-back place, and nobody will put you on the spot. I’ll be there, and hopefully some of you, and you should feel free to bring friends as well. Admission is free; there’s a little cafe in the front and a full bar in the back, where the performances take place.

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  • Listening “Literature” implies a written text. But what about the audiotext? Why do we refer to the “audience” (from the Latin audiens, listening) of a literary work? This course is about listening to literature and reading performance. ____________________________________
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