Monthly Archives: July 2014

Talking Doorsteps: A new exciting video project

IMG_20140729_121626Masai Dabula, Mutle Mothibe, Deanna Rodger, Pippa Riddick and Thabiso Mohare

Today marks the beginning of an exciting new project in partnership with British Council Connect ZA and The Roundhouse in the UK.

The Talking Doorsteps project sees film-maker Pippa Riddick and poet Deanna Rodger working with 8 local poets to produce a series of poetry videos. Since 2011, groups of young creatives have worked with professional spoken work artists to create pop-up performances on doorsteps across London.

Talking Door Steps – Venetia

The eight participants are:
Xongani Maluleka
Ross Poet
Xabiso Vili
Thando Bella Khoza
Paballo Sethi
Mutinta Bbenkele
Apiwe Mjambane
Lucas Pilgrim Serei

We’re looking forward to seeing the videos you will produce in this week.

Gig guide
Poetry Corner

Wednesday | 30 July
Lighthouse on 7th, Melville
Deanna Rodger and the 8 participants will be performing at our weekly free Open Mic sessions in Melvile.

Morning Live
Saturday | 2 August
SABC News and SABC 2
06:00 – 09:00
Catch interviews from Deanna Rodger and SA’s first National Slam Champion, Koleka Putuma.

Word N Sound Series
Saturday | 2 August
Market Theatre Laboratory
3 President Street, Newtown
12:00 – 18:00
R50 at the door
Deanna Rodger shares the Word N Sound stage with Koleka Putuma and 2013 Open Mic League Finalist, Mapule Mohulatsi. There is also SA’s toughest Open Mic Slam. Event page here.


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Slam For Your Life Highlights

The Word N Sound Live Literature Company in collaboration with the British Council Connect ZA presented the first annual Slam For Your Life National Slam Poetry Competition, with the finals being held on the last day of the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

The winner, Koleka Putuma, has a bright year ahead in performance and recording opportunities.

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How to Write Slam Poetry

Mahogany L. Browne, a Poet in New York City from the Nuyorican Poets Café, talks about how to write a slam poem.

Dear aspirant slam poet…some tips from those who know slams

There are few platforms that force a poet to sharpen their craft better than the Word N Sound Open Mic Poetry Slam League. Each month, the most talented of artists go up against each other in SA toughest poetry competition in a quest to be crowned King/Queen of the Mic.

We ask those who know the nature of slams best to share their tips for any aspirant slam poets ahead of the first Slam For Your Life National Slam Finale at the National Arts Festival this Sunday.

What 3 tips do you have for any aspirant slam poet?

Masai: Read. Your writing should always be honest. Think outside the box and learn to creatively break the rules.
Lucas: Don’t be too haste to write, it’s quality over quality. Vven if you didn’t make it to the Top 5 or win a slam competition, don’t be too hard on yourself. Always come out as yourself in every slam. Never let anything cloud who you really are, because you are telling “your” stories.

Dikson: Be original. If you’re inspired by someone, great, but don’t mimic them or translate their stories into your tongue. The most exciting poets feed off of themselves, not others.

Perform as much as you can. I’ve gone through periods of not performing for months over the last few years, whilst it’s good to take a break you’ll always be at your peak when you write and perform frequently, it’s a cycle. That said, we’re all built differently, I know I could dedicate a lot more time to my art, I suppose it’s important too then to recognise your weaknesses and build on them if you can.

Be open to other forms of art though, I feel that slamming’s biggest lesson to me has been that it isn’t everything, it’s pushed me towards the written word and photography and taught me about the synergy between art forms and the purity of art and artists.

Read books out aloud, it helps with articulation. It’s not always necessary to follow other slam poets avidly and memorize their works. I feel less copy cat artworks are born when we find our art in spaces other than the spaces where we hang it. Find poems in how your nail grows, a child’s way of communication before their vocab falls in place, the poetry of seasons and study NATURE!!! Also, learn how to go against your writing style.

Xabiso: Hone your craft – practice every day, learn the rules and bylaws, listen and read other poets and writers. Know the judging criteria and your audience. Breathe, relax, enjoy yourself.

SFYL: Become a slam poet in five steps

Gayle Danley offers five steps to being a slam poet — while being downright poetic in the process.
Lesson by Gayle Danley, animation by TED-Ed

With enough passion and practice, becoming a slam poet is within your reach. Explore a distant memory on paper, then read it out loud. Edit. Try reading it out loud again, and add your finishing touches.

Who is Gayle Danley?

Gayle was born in New York City, and at age 8 months, moved with her family to Atlanta, Georgia. She won her first public speaking contest in 7th grade and studied broadcast journalism at Howard University’s School of Communications where she graduated cum laude. After working as an assistant magazine editor for the National Rifle Association, she left Washington, DC to study Radio, Television and Film at Syracuse University, earning a Master’s Degree. It was not until after she finished school that she learned about Slam poetry. She embraced it almost immediately won the 1994 National Individual Slam Poet in Ashville, NC just months after being exposed to Slam poetry. In Heidelberg, Germany, she became the 1996 International Slam Poet Champion.

Feeling blessed to be able to share her talent and motivational words with audiences across the country, Gayle launched her one-woman show, “Brilliance,” touching thousands with her Slam Poetry workshops, lectures, performances and speeches. Gayle has published three books: “Naked,” “Soulfull—A Slam Poetry Study Guide,” and “Passionate—Poems You Can Feel.”

In addition to her motivational speaking and college performances, she has maintained a constant tour of elementary and secondary schools, helping students with traumatic experiences and teaching workshops on Slam poetry to all age groups. A feature story on Slam poetry was presented on the CBS show, 60 Minutes in 1999, which spotlighted her classroom work and riveting performance. Her keynote and lecture series fuses her poetry with the ability to touch her audience through real life experiences, leaving a lasting emotional message with her audience.

Gayle’s explosive style combines movement and emotion as she performs her magic on the audience, sweeping them up in her words as she addresses and explores contemporary issues.

Recent clients include: George Washington University, Massachusetts College of Art, University of Texas at San, Antonio, Clemson University, Alonzo Crim HS – Atlanta GA, South Brunswick HS – South Brunswick NJ, “Out of the Box” arts conference for artists and educators under the NYS Alliance in Binghamton NY, Jamestown Community College, University of Baltimore, Delaware Valley Institute for the Arts Teacher Conference, The Rome Art and Community Center artist spotlight and The Kitchen Theatre Presents Women in the Arts Event.

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‘Poetry speaks to the human condition’ – Afurakan

The Spoken Freedom Festival is first and foremost an exciting showcase. It provides both audiences and artists an opportunity to witness and partake of engaging artwork through the media of words, music and visuals. It`s a chance to collectively look at how far South Africa has come over the past two decades, and to position Spoken Word as a medium to both chronicle and shape the South African journey in the years to come.

Each show costs R50, tickets are available through Computicket or directly from the Market Theatre Box Office.

Get the full Spoken Freedom Festival programme here.

A massive thank you to our partners, The Market Theatre Foundation and the South African National Lottery for making this amazing project possible.