A look at ranting poetry, a spoken word boom from the 80s, and it’s influences and impact.
We’ll be focusing on the poets and poetry, ‘zines, music and the turbulent times.
I started my poetry career stepping up between bands and at reggae nights, I was a teen age ranter. Since then I’ve done fairly well in the poetry game, even garnered some bad reviews and social opprobrium. I was interviewed by whippersnappers a couple of times in 2013 who kept asking me about the influence of hip hop on my work. There isn’t one. As a yoof I was into reggae. It became apparent that many youngsters see spoken word as starting with, and perhaps springing from, hip hop. After some more thought I realised that the ‘zines, gigs and records where ranting poetry shouted the odds are pre-internet.
Arts Council England has funded me to research ranting poetry. I’ve a long list of names, it’s a megiilah! I’ll be talking to original ranters from the early 80s as well as musicians, writers and sad cases. I’ll also be looking at the events of the time and how poetry reacted to them as well as collating ‘zines, badges, flyers records and all the stuff that made us kewl.
We’ll also be including young poets who’re doing some work in the same soapbox manner and who’re continuing to be shouty, sweary, drunk and vital.
Stand up and spit.