There has been a resurgence recently in Spoken Word performance poetry, and to some degree this has been acknowledged and even celebrated. We can see this more recently in a couple of huge developments within the spoken word poetry scene:
In March Kate Tempest appeared on American Network television - on NBC's 'the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon'. She performed her poem 'Europe Is Lost' to millions. This is just the kind of exposure spoken word poetry needs.
However, what I have noticed is this success is being overshadowed by the closure of iconic performance venues!
It's a sad reality that this is happening.
All around us venues are closing their doors or are unable to accommodate facilities needed to put on an entertaining night of spoken word poetry.
Reported by the BBC in October 2016: "And music venues do not fare much better. Of the 430 that traded in London between 2007 and 2015, only 245 are still open, research by the London Assembly suggests."
Is there a green light in store for this? Well, according to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, there is. He is looking to appoint a 'Night Tsar' to work across London who will work as “a key driver of economic and cultural regeneration, and a magnet for domestic and international visitors” across the capital.
Their role will look to provide increased protection for music venues and nightclubs, working with developers to find new sites. A new approach will mean that the responsibility will now be on developers to ensure special steps are taken, such as soundproofing new residential properties in the areas where music venues or nightclubs are already established. Or likewise, if a nightclub opens in a residential area, it will be responsible for safeguarding residents’ peace, thus creating a harmony among cultural enthusiasts and local inhabitants.
This is great, but it only looks to address the issue in one location across the UK. However, I suppose if this is a success then it can easily be replicated across the country in order to stop our unique cultural night-life from being lost and forgotten.
My fingers are well and truly crossed that the continued success of the Spoken Word artists will be followed up with a rejuvenation in provisions for allowing this art form to be seen and flourish.
Folks - only time will tell.