In celebration of National Poetry Month, The Malahat Review brought together a small crew of recognized spoken word artists and poets to debate whether or not spoken word and written word poetry are distinct genres. The debate's moderator, Yvonne Blomer, put it this way: Are these two art forms really as different as tigers and lemurs? As different as The Malahat Review and YouTube?
Each debate team featured one spoken word artist and one on-the-page poet—each with timeslots for debate and a few minutes to perform their own work. Kyeren Regehr and Jeremy Loveday fought for the spoken and the written as two distinct genres while Iain Higgins and Missie Peters called for the two to be united. Each debater had a turn to—as Yvonne would have punned it—Ezra Pound the opposing team in and formulate the more memorable Elizabeth Smartass comments with their true debater-enthusiasm.
Once the debaters had their chance to support their sides of the argument and read or perform their poetry, Yvonne had the audience close their eyes to cast a vote for the more successful team. 19 for poetic promiscuity with Iain and Missie, 17 for poetic hierarchy with Kyeren and Jeremy. Some spoiled their votes, so who knows who really would have won, but we don’t think anybody went home with hard feelings.
More info & Photos: http://www.malahatreview.ca/friends/poetrydebate.html
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