Joelle Taylor

‘Spoken word allowed me to bypass literary gatekeepers’ … Joelle Taylor.

… I was, in part, asking a question of myself: whether poetry that arose out of social media could hold up under intensive close reading. The answer, in short, was yes… As time passes, and the new poets grow older, a critical discourse will develop, and we’ll begin to see a canon emerge… “Spoken word,” Joelle Taylor says, “is proper poetry. But poetry for the mouth has a different instinct than that for the pen; of equal value, but different. We must be judged on the terms of the chosen expression. Those who undermine the form often reveal an elitist, classist bias – as seen in their need to define and own poetry. You cannot own an art”.

(Sarah Crown, “Generation next: the rise — and rise — of the new poets,” The Guardian, 2-16-19)

(c) 2019 JMN.

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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6 Responses to Touché

    • JMN says:

      I’m trying to examine what are probably old-fashioned biases of my own about the channels poetry may travel to reach its readers. I’m not familiar with Joelle Taylor or other writers and currents mentioned in this article, but I found it interesting, and felt its author made persuasive arguments for openmindedness on the part of myself.


      • Was he referring to filmed, performed poetry?

        Liked by 1 person

      • JMN says:

        I think so. She (Joelle Taylor) is described as a poet and spoken word artist. But it seems to involve also poetry conceived from the outset for recitation rather than to be read. My ignorance is on full display here.


      • I always assumed (and was taught?) that poetry was written to be spoken and that’s why to ‘get it’ you had to hear it. This snippet does seems to be suggesting something different.

        Liked by 1 person

      • JMN says:

        My assumption, too. Poetry existed as a strictly oral medium for centuries before writing came into play. And even when commonly written down, long tradition recommends recitation for greatest effect. I’ve done an injustice to the article, overall, with the snippet I’ve quoted. I think there’s a thrust to circumvent the “gatekeepers” of print publishing and find an audience online through social media, via video and live performance as opposed to writing. It’s certainly true that I’m over my head.


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