Posted in Arts & Culture

Be Inspired by Spoken Word Poetry

If I Should Have a Daughter by Sarah Kay

I consider myself a prose writer not a poet, but spoken word poetry touches me in a way little else does.

So what is spoken word poetry?

Put simply, it is what it says on the packet: poetry constructed with the sole intention of being spoken. It can of course include written page poetry performed outloud, but there are subtle differences. Both forms concentrate on the aesthetics of word play, but whereas the written form focuses on the aesthetics on the page, the spoken form focuses on phonoaesthetics (the aesthetics of sound). So take a listen to spoken word poetry and you will quickly notice how different the oral language, expression and emotion are portrayed.

I want to create spoken word poetry: where should I start?

  • Before attempting to create spoken word poetry, take the time to watch various performance poets, look online and attend spoken word open mic nights. Scrutinise their poem and the way in which they perform them: look, listen and feel their creation.
  • As with any piece of writing begin with an idea or topic, ideally something you feel strongly about, as you will need to express yourself passionately in your spoken word performance.
  • Brainstorm your idea and jot down, words, phrases, feelings, emotions and sensory associations.
  • Now start to write your poem rich with vivid imagery. Use repetition to exagerate and extend an image. Create a voice and persona that will capture the poems uniqueness. And feel free to use rhyme as an element of entertainment. Remember your poems soul purpose is to be heard not read and use of grammar is a lot less restrictive.
  • Like all forms of writing, your spoken word poem will need editing and proofreading.
  • And finally read your poem out loud. In fact perform your poem throughout the creative process to hear how it sounds, adjusting and experimenting with your performance. Stand with an air of confidence and assertiveness (this will also help with voice projection). Draw your audience in with eye contact. Make use of facial expressions and enunciate to feed your audiences senses.
Posted in News & Views

Pearson Sells Penguin Books to German Bertelsmann

Image by Sue Rickhuss from Pixabay

Pearson is selling Penguin Random House in a decision to focus on educational publishing. Its CEO John Fallon will retire in 2020, once his successor has been found.

Pearson who have owned Penguin Random House since 1970, began a joint venture with the German media group Bertelsmann in 2013. In July 2017 Pearson sold a further 22% to Bertelsmann for $1bn. And has now announced it will be selling its last 25% for £530m.

This means none of the top five English Language book publishers are owned by British companies: Simon & Schuster once owned by Pearson is now part of the US media conglomerate ViacomCBS, German Holtzbrinck owns Macmillian, HarperCollins is part of the US News Corporation. And John Murray was sold in 2002 to the French publishers Hachette.

Penguin was founded in July 1935 by Sir Allen Lane. The idea first occurred to him, while waiting for a train back to London from Exeter St Davids. He had spent the weekend at Agatha Christies, Torquay country home. As he browsed the stalls for something to read, a young Sir Allen was disgusted by the poor selection of novels and magazines. He had a vision of making books readily available, in cheap paperback format.

“I wanted the books to sell at the same price as a packet of cigarettes so that no one could possibly say they couldn’t afford them.”

Sir Allen Lane

Despite much scepticism, three million books were sold during Penguins first year in business. The publishers paperback books cost just sixpence (£1.74 in todays money), oppose to eight shillings (£27.89) for the traditional hardback book.

Sir Allen Lane died in 1970 age 69. Weeks later the publishing house would be sold to Pearson. Now we can only wait and see what the future holds for a legendary British publishing brand.