Hotel Elephant: Captivated audience at Bang Said The Gun
If you’re a poet and you know it, last week you might have found yourself down at the Southbank Centre soaking up some lyrical magic in celebration of National Poetry Day. But even if you missed Thursday’s array of events – and aren’t necessarily the quill-wielding type anyway – why not dip your toe into the gushing river of performance poetry, with regular events happening across London all year round?
Spoken word poetry is a great way to engage with London’s alternative arts scene, offering striking performances by some of the city’s quirkiest minds. It’s not about reading poems aloud from the page, the words and their delivery are inseparable and that’s what makes it so vibrant and unique.
Battersea Arts Centre: Spoken word legend Polarbear
Poems can be rapped, spoken or sung, but they often have a narrative, story-telling feel and paint a portrait of contemporary urban life. Big names like Polarbear, Kate Tempest and Scroobius Pip represent a cultural rebirth of poetry fit for an ever-evolving audience outside the boundaries of academic, written-to-be read verse.
Staple of the spoken word scene Bang Said The Gun serves up a poetry feast every Thursday in Borough ‘for those who don’t like poetry, especially the stuff about thwarted love and daffodils’. You’ll see current stand up acts compete in the weekly Raw Meat Stew Open Mic Spot, where anyone can ‘read a poem, tell a joke, juggle a pigeon, dance a jig’ to win the Golden Gun Award and a slot at the next event. This week former resident artist Nia Barge is up – have a peek at this compelling and hilarious monologue to get a flavour of what you might be in for.
Battersea Arts Centre: Kate Tempest performing ‘Brand New Ancients’ at BAC last month
Another mainstay is Hammer and Tongue, which describes itself as ‘the biggest promoter of slam poetry in the UK’ and takes place in Camden and Hackney. Most events feature a guest poet followed by an open poetry slam judged by the audience. Head down this month to watch guest poet Rob Auton, who will be performing a shortened version of his critically acclaimed Edinburgh Fringe Festival show, ‘The Yellow Show’.
There are plenty of nights you can drop in to and soak up the verbal flavours – definitely catch the rhythms and rhymes thrown out by Sage and Time in Farringdon next Wednesday – and if you want to know more, you can find out vast quantities from Apples and Snakes, which supports developing performance artists and puts on a number of events themselves. Happy slamming!
This is a guest post by Carmel Gould.Google+