In Ñspel: The Guardian view on spoken word poets: powerful voices that are needed today

George the Poet is an artist capable of reeling in a Glastonbury crowd. Photograph: Antonio Olmos/The Observer
Jorj ɖ Powt z an artist ceṗbl v rīlñ in a Glastnbri crǎd. Foṭgraf: Antonio Olmos/Ɖ Obzrvr

Ɖ Gardịn vy on spocn-wrd powts: pǎrfl vôsz ɖt r nīdd tde

Transcription of a Guardian editorial of 7 July 2023

Tṛdiśṇli lct dǎn on bî ɖ powtri istabliśmnt, ɖoz speṣ́lîzñ in pformns dzrv ɖer ny ćans t śîn

Frîde, 7 Jlî 2023

Nyz ɖt wn v ɖ YC’z līdñ powtriprîzz z intṛdysñ a caṭgri fr spocn-wrd artists z az welcm az it z oṿdy. Ɖ muv bî ɖ Fwd prîzz signlz ɖt ɖ powtri istabliśmnt z fîṇli fîndñ a we t onr a sectr ɖt it hz tṛdiśṇli rgardd az a ccu in its nst, ẃn in fact it hz loñ bn a fŭli flejd scîlarc. Ɖs preɉdis hz dn powtri itslf no fevrz, bî xcludñ nt onli sm v ɖ most pǎrfl vôsz v ɖ last haf snć̣ri, bt olso ɖoz most lîcli t drw big ny ōdịnsz intu its ʈrōl.

Fr ʈri decedz, ɖ Fwd prîzz hv std alñsd ɖ TS Elịt awordz az prūf ɖt powtri stl matrz. Ć yir, bʈ sets v awordz fil Lundn’z 2,700-sītr Fstivl Hōl fr winrz’ seriṃniz ɖt r olso pformnsz, seḷbretñ ɖ art form in its most enćnt iṭreśn az smʈñ t b hŕd n śerd. In ɖs contxt, it hz olwz sīmd îronic ɖt it hz hd no rūm fr ɖ culćr-śiftñ p’lemics v, se, Lintn Kwezi Jonsn or Bnɉmin Zeḟnaia, or v a yungr jeṇreśn hu, lîc Jorj ɖ Powt, r ceṗbl v rīlñ in a Glastnbri crǎd.

Ɖs z nt t dnî ɖt ɖ Fwd prîzz’ xistñ portfolio v bst c’lex́n, bst sngl powm n bst deby c’lex́n hz bilt p a formiḍbl lîbrri v winrz ovr ɖ last 31 yirz. Ɖe streć fṛm Tom Gún’z gret Edz ira mmorịl, Ɖ Man wɖ Nît Swets, t Cim Mōr’z zîtgîsti powmz v evride sxizm, Ol ɖ Men I Nvr Marid, n includ wrcs bî ʈri powt lorịts.

It wd olso b roñ t clem ɖt ɖr z a cmplit seṗreśn btwn powtri fr pej n stej: aftr ol, wn v ɖs yir’z Fwd jujz, Joél Teilr, z a formr YC slamćampịn hu last yir wún ɖ TS Elịt prîz. Ɖs rezz ɖ qsćn v ẃɖr it z nesṣri, or īvn dzîṛbl, t criet a spocn-wrd nīś at ol tde, or f it z jst a matr v wêtñ untl powts hu faund ɖer vôs on ɖ spocn-wrd sīn, sć az Mz Teilr, or 2020’z TS Elịt winr, Rojr Robinsn, r redi t cmit ɖer wrdz t print.

Bt t mc ɖt arğmnt z t asym ɖt ɖr z a hîrarci – a growñ-up proses – ẃn in fact ɖr r plenti v powts hu wrc simlteńsli in bʈ arīnaz. Az Mz Teilr rîtli pôntd ǎt: “Spocn wrd n pformd powtri z az vałbl, dnamic n xploṛtri az publiśt wrcs.” Ɖo it z intrinzic t ɖ vri nećr v oṛl powtri ɖt it hz a lît arcîvl ftprint, it nvɖles hz a loñ peḍgrī. Ɖt liniij strećz bac t ɖ Harḷm rnesns via ɖ 1960z, ẃn Bìt heviweits sć az Aḷn Ginzbrg ilectṛfaid a 7,000-stroñ ōdịns at ɖ Royl Alḅt Hōl, n Rojr MGof, Edrịn Hnri n Brayn Pátn imrjd az ɖ Liṿpul Powts.

Ɖt sm v ɖ culćṛl n p’liticl xîtmnt v powtri in ɖt rforṃtiv ira hz rīsrfist in ɖ last fy yirz z larjli dy t public pformns, fṛm Amanda Gormn’z Ɖ Hil W Clîm, ẃć stoul ɖ harts v miłnz at ɖ inōğreśn v Jo Bîdn, t Ce Tmpist’s rīdeḟniśn v ɖ rleśnśp btwn powtri, ḿzic n ʈiytr. A ny mec̣nizm fr brññ ɖs eṇji intu ɖ clasicl cann, holdñ it in paṛlel n capćrñ it fr psteṛti, cn onli b inrićñ.

Instroduction to Ñspel

"House by the Railroad," Edward Hopper, 1925

30/07/2023

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