Spoken words

I like words.  I like the look and the sound and the texture of them.  And I believe they are capable of more truth and communication than most of the human race typically permits them.  How are you?  Fine thanks, and you?  Can’t complain.  Well I can, and I do.

Presenting poems that make words do what they are supposed to.

‘If Only Out of Vanity’ by Stayceyann Chin If only out of vanity text

Stayceyann Chin’s vision of who she wants to be sounds like fun.  My version is one who can finally dye her hair bright purple (or maybe green) without needing to stew in bleach for six hours.  Defy all attempts to be reductionist with reality (and magic).  Ride a bike with a trailer and bright flags (and possibly a diamond tipped pointy thing).  And cross roads with a brood that knows to look on all sides before it walks.

‘Not your erotic, not your exotic’ by Suheir Hammad Not your erotic, not your exotic text

I like a lot of Suheir Hammad’s work but this one has a particular resonance for me.  For the many times I have felt like my beauty is invisible, replaced by a mirage of almond-shaped eyes and curls.  Every day I add to my list of ways in which who I am is reduced to someone else’s version of what I must be like – a cardboard cut out could replace me without most people noticing the difference.  But some will, because they know I have the kind of beauty that moves (bonus geek points if you know who I’m quoting here!).

‘The Low Road’ by Marge Piercy the low road text

Recently, Maia posted this in solidarity with the defendants in the Operation 8 trial.  If you have no idea what Operation 8 is, this is a basic introductionthis is what wikipedia has on it, and this is the best writing I have found on the subject.  The trial is a farce (ask me how) and I believe the charges should be dropped.  Marge Piercy is one of the most accomplished writers I’ve read.  And few people can read her better than Stayceyann Chin.   I have nothing to add to what has already collectively been said.  Except perhaps to state that I would like to be counted among the thousand who have solidarity with those demanding justice for the raided, Tino Rangatiratanga and Te Mana Motuhake O Tūhoe.


70 comments on “Spoken words

  1. Oh. My. Word. This is beyond amazing. This is wonderful. It resonates within me – i think this may be my favourite Freshly Pressed of all time.
    Thank you for inspiring my dull brain.
    On a side note: How do you embed the word document into your post, please?

    • brownflotsam says:

      I’m so glad it resonated with you! And brains are endlessly interesting… rarely dull!
      I embedded the word documents using the ‘add media’ tab. Works pretty much for any medium – text, pic or video. Hope that helps.
      cheers for stopping by!

  2. Congrats on making freshly pressed. Please follow my blog ThisTrailerSucks.Com , THANKS!

  3. Love these!! have you checked out Taylor Mali “What teachers make”? Powerful stuff.

  4. Reblogged this on Primeiro do Plural and commented:
    I honestly wanted to post just the videos and my comments, but it would be too infair with Contradictory Multitudes. I wish I had discovered this videos before. lol
    Pra ser sincero eu queria postar somente os vídeos e meus comentários, mas isso seria muito injusto com o Contradictory Multitudes. Queria ter descoberto esse vídeos antes. lol

  5. NecroKitten says:

    Absolutely beautiful post, thank you so much for sharing. I was actually just looking up a lot of old spoken word videos I used to love.

  6. This is cool stuff. I have some poetry myself, never thought about doing spoken word with it though. What I’m wondering is, what’s happened with the trial for the remaining 4? This whole terrorism fiasco has leaders everywhere justifying all kinds of absurdity. So much fear being perpetuated and nourished…

    • brownflotsam says:

      Glad you enjoyed it! The trial for the remaining four is going on as we speak. It’s expected to last approximately three months. And depending on how it goes there may or may not be an appeal. There will be more words about it I suspect.

  7. elizabethweaver says:

    Fantastic choices! Thank you so much for bring them together in this post.

  8. awordforthought says:

    I’m with you on the beauty of words!

    Spoken word is particularly interesting… the speech provides its own melody and rhythm in place of a horn and drums. They’re the one-man band, and when done well it really brings you in. On the flip side, it does seem to slip a lot into the hyper-individualized, almost commercial “me” rebelliousness of modernity… it becomes a lot less impressive when that happens.

    Content aside, quite gripping performances! I share your love of words… there’s nothing like reading a passage and finding that “perfect” word. You realize that it could never be any other way. 🙂

    • brownflotsam says:

      I hear you on the hyper-individualised overly hipster self referential rhetoric. It’s a staple of any alt art scene. So I guess I pick on choose the pieces I like and ignore or critique the rest!

      I’m glad you enjoyed them, and I hope you continue to find the perfect words to communicate intent.

  9. the777man says:

    Wow, what a powerful post you have posted. I wish I had better internet speed out here on the ranch, so I could really just watch it without loading issues. I am going to have to check into more of the spoken word as I am finding it very interesting and powerful.

    Thank you, Peace and Harmony,

  10. papayatree says:

    Powerful spoken word poets – great clips. The Women of the World Poetry Slam is coming to Denver next month.

  11. Sylvia says:

    I’d love to be able to say that I had stumbled across your blog by accident, that I was somehow “brought to you”, in the non creepy stalker kinda way that just came out.

    Yes, I’m a freshly pressed link-follower. I found you insightful and you put time and effort into this post. I appreciated that.

    Also, the poetry selection was very refreshing. Being that I’m a stranger, a passing face in an airport of coming and going bloggers and blog readers, I don’t know the words to sincerely express to you that your writing is appreciated by this one reader, that I have derived pleasure and insight from having read your blog entry and look forward to learning more through you and about you.

    Again, not a creepy stalker type person.

  12. I also believe in the power of words. I love constructing lyrical sentences. Have you ever studied semiotics? It’s a great study if you’re into words.

    I like your inclusion of the videos. I just have to share a favourite poet of mine – Shane Koyczan. His live performance of ‘This is My Voice’ is spine tingling.

  13. Ryan Sprout says:

    I’ve seen both of these women live. They are excellent poetic artistic performers with a lot to say!

  14. “Presenting poems that make words do what they are supposed to.” Well, you did. Looking forward to your next post!

  15. seanjrankine says:

    I’ve witnessed a machine that cuts the hardest of metals, to a pin-point accuracy, with just a highly compressed jet of water. Words I like this!

    Love these vids, although I’m ashamed to admit I don’t know these poets.

  16. Gift says:

    Words are powerful. Awesome.

  17. Rocket says:

    Lovely. Several months ago I was doing research for Spoken Word Poetry, and the controversy that comes with poetry slams. These performances seem to capture the essence and passion of it.

  18. What an excellent post. The readings are outstanding. I feel enriched. Well done for getting the FP recognition and putting this out there.

  19. Smaktakula says:

    This is a treat. I love the the sweeping beauty and subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) power of language. Good finds!

  20. Thanks so much for this. We’re doing spoken word in our course at the moment so well timed as well.

  21. thethievery says:

    The videos are simply beautiful. Thank you for posting and sharing them. I feel a little lighter after watching them =)

  22. I feel some kind of way after reading your post, after watching those spoken word geniuses. Thanks sooo much for sharing. This Freshly Pressed post was well worth the “click.”

    Swing past my lil’ fledgling blog http://dirtywordlaundry.wordpress.com if you get a chance.

  23. niravkarani says:

    Strong words there! Words are more capable of communication than what we typically permit them, you say. Here is an interesting counter viewpoint: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgXlHWF3_Go
    I was impressed by both. I’m confused :O

  24. Raaj Trambadia says:

    That’s what I call something Inspirational !! Cheerz 😀

    And please check out my latest post on love – http://raajtram.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/love-sometimes-stupidity-d/

  25. bergerakmaju says:

    Greetings first visit. It shows what the boss and it seems interesting. in wait for a visit back

  26. i LOVE spoken word. Stacey ann chin is AWESOME, and ya’ll should check out Bridget Gray (:

  27. whenquiet says:

    OMGosh!!! I almost missed this….StaceyannChinn!!!Awesome!!! When will she be in Europe? I gotta zoom back and check out the others…But first, I have to replay Stacey!! Wow!

  28. shil says:

    Beautiful, especially the “not the exotic..”

  29. candienziia says:

    Great post, I was fortunate enough to be assigned a review of a performance by Solomon Sparrows Electric Whale Revival a few (like 6) years ago – (http://www.myspace.com/whalerevival); they’re a group of award winning spoken-word performers – and I had completely forgotten how powerful and entertaining spoken word performances are until I saw this 🙂

  30. candienziia says:

    Reblogged this on because i can and commented:
    In 2007 I was fortunate enough to be assigned a review of the spoken word performance of Solomon Sparrows Electric Whale Revival (http://www.myspace.com/whalerevival) for my campus newspaper. This performance was perhaps the closest I’ll ever come to understand how religious people probably feel during a particularly significant sermon. Today this post by brownflotsam reminded me of this power and how words, when used truly correctly, can hold so much power and emotion that you’re experiencing them before you even really understand the full meaning of what you’re hearing.

  31. […] I want to inspire as these women do at Spoken Words. […]

  32. Vannie says:

    This post was like Memory Lane. Love words as well. 🙂 Have written poetry and a few freestyles for a while, but don’t have much time for it these days. This is still one of my favorite spoken word performances: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5386dnAAHdY&feature=related.

    Thanks for this!

  33. Love spoken word. I attempt to write it, but don’t think I could ever perform it with as much passion as your examples. Thank you for the post.

  34. Thank you so much for posting this, such beautiful writing, and I am completely captivated by the videos you posted. I’m blown away. The beauty and the passion of their words and the ways they speak them- you are completely right that words are capable of more truth and communication than anyone realizes.

  35. […] is woman? ‘Is woman like darkness, non-existent in and of herself?’ brownflotsam shares Spoken words at contradictory multitudes. It’s a collection of performances of some pretty amazing […]

  36. Very nice. When you get a chance, read the tribute that i did for Dr. Maya Angelou.

    Everette-the author

  37. “Every day I add to my list of ways in which who I am is reduced to someone else’s version of what I must be like – a cardboard cut out could replace me without most people noticing the difference” I am telling you, I could connect to that on so many ways! 😀

  38. the two emilys says:

    loved if only out of vanity

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