Poetry is out of its book-bound cage and running loose in the world. Spoken word, slam poetry, and poetic theater are the latest labels for a performance art form that turns traditional poetry on its ear. It’s a live action medium designed for smoky clubs with a loud, engaged crowd. And there is no more pioneering voice in performance poetry today than one-time journalist Patricia Smith. In fact, long before Patricia Smith was fired from the Boston Globe for a bit too much creative license in her columns, she earned that license as Chicago’s poetry slam diva.
Now she’s sharpened her craft, and deepened her delivery. When she’s not channeling the voices of the overlooked and underfoot, she’s burrowing into music’s meaning. Here she is on Aretha Franklin: “Aretha. Deep butter dipt, burnt pot liquor, twisted sugar cane, vaselined knock knees clacking extraordinary gospel.” Patricia Smith is live this hour on the Connection.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
Patricia Smith, performance poet The Philip Pemberton Band (Philip Pemberton – Vocals, Jim Weston – Percussion, Joshua Carre – Bass, Steve Grzeskowiak – Guitar)