From Blaze, written by Janine Booth, 1984.
Ranting poetry is something that’s getting very important. It’s aim of “doing to poetry what punk did to music” is strengthened by it’s big advantage over music: the message can’t be ignored by the listener. Not that it’s all preaching – message goes hand-in-hand with humour and wit. It’s an entertainment medium that comes over much better live than in the studio, or on paper, as it’s the performance part that makes ranting poetry so special.
Seething Wells is the Bradford skinhead ranter who demonstrates that you don’t have to be a racist, fascist little bigot, just coz your hair’s not very long. One of his best is ‘Tetley Bittermen’, about pub ‘hard boys’.
Little Brother sees himself as a ‘social satirist’, and is probably best known for the brilliant ‘Don’t Mess With The Young Conservatives’.. “They’re very tough you know, if it ever came to fisticuffs, They’d match you blow for blow. They’d take off their stripey jackets, Roll up the sleeves of their shirts, And then quote Milton Friedman at you, And God, that hurts”
Joolz is the best-known female ranter, and most of her poems take the form f stories …of routine boredom, violence and video nasties …
Benjamin Zephaniah is a ‘dub ranter’ – his poems have the reggae beat that makes his live shows so popular. Don’t miss him on record either – his ‘Rasta’ album is brill.
Others that I’ve heard of, but don’t know much about include Gav T’Lad, Belinda Blanchard, Ginger John, Little Dave and Ranting Richie.