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View Full Version : Brandon Leake, spoken word poet wins season 15 of America's Got Talent 2020



PiP
September 27th, 2020, 06:58 PM
Congratulations!

Wow! The first spoken word poet on AGT and he wins! What a great boost for poetry. Make yourself a coffee, pour yourself a beer or whatever and take 15 minutes to listen to his poetry. I was blown away.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaPXcg7lLfg

Spoken word adds a whole new dimension to poetry. We write poetry, we read it aloud with passion but will a 3rd person reading the written word really project with the same passion?

I am hooked!

Brandon Leake is an inspiration.

Theglasshouse
September 27th, 2020, 07:31 PM
That's inspirational in the sense poetry makes a televised appearance. I hope more poetry gets exposure on tv. That would be a smart move. Also, competition with poetry could be a good way to make people turn on their tvs. Poetry is brief and tv makes it a good way to expose people to poems. So hopefully poetry appears in tv more so than just spoken poetry.

Phil Istine
September 27th, 2020, 10:10 PM
Hearing poetry spoken certainly adds to it, which is why I sometimes read work aloud that I see on here. Tim seems to have taken it to another level as well. Recently on Facebook, I came across a former schoolteacher who first awakened me to poetry when I was maybe 10 years old. He posts videos on Facebook of himself reading poems - though not his own. Astonishingly, he actually remembers me from 53 years ago, but it's fair to say that I stood out for various reasons - some positive and some less so.

Having poetry on a general talent contest is something else though. I won't view it tonight as I'm pretty tired, but I will take a look soon.

PiP
September 28th, 2020, 12:54 PM
Poetry is brief and tv makes it a good way to expose people to poems. So hopefully poetry appears in tv more so than just spoken poetry.

TV, radio, podcasts or whatever the spoken word brings poetry alive. It adds a new dimension and encourages more people to explore poetry.

rcallaci
September 28th, 2020, 05:18 PM
Holy Sh*t now that some great poetry- This guys is passionate and reads his work like a veteran actor. Spoken Word will be on the rise--Pip now I'm excited...

PiP
September 28th, 2020, 08:15 PM
Tim seems to have taken it to another level as well.
Yes, I listening to the way Tim performs his poetry. One of my favourites he allowed us to include the WF member poetry podcast


Hearing poetry spoken certainly adds to it, which is why I sometimes read work aloud that I see on here.
Yes, I always read poetry aloud, but I wonder if the way I read it is as the poet intended



Recently on Facebook, I came across a former schoolteacher who first awakened me to poetry when I was maybe 10 years old. He posts videos on Facebook of himself reading poems - though not his own. Astonishingly, he actually remembers me from 53 years ago, but it's fair to say that I stood out for various reasons - some positive and some less so.

I am sure he must have recognised you had talent even back them


Having poetry on a general talent contest is something else though. I won't view it tonight as I'm pretty tired, but I will take a look soon.

Hopefully you will have time in the next few days ... :) Trust me, it's worth it.

PiP
September 28th, 2020, 08:17 PM
Holy Sh*t now that some great poetry- This guys is passionate and reads his work like a veteran actor. Spoken Word will be on the rise--Pip now I'm excited...
haha... I'd love to hear you reading your beastie poems!

Gumby
September 28th, 2020, 09:00 PM
Holy Sh*t now that some great poetry- This guys is passionate and reads his work like a veteran actor. Spoken Word will be on the rise--Pip now I'm excited...

It really is an exciting breakthrough for poetry. The passion and his ability to bring his poetry to life...you have to admire that.

Gbot
September 29th, 2020, 01:58 PM
What an amazing performance! I was moved to tears during his poem about his mom and the one about his little sister. He blew me away.

Foxee
September 29th, 2020, 03:15 PM
Wow! The one about his sister was heart-wrenching but so good. This poet really gives words their power and their due.

Tiamat
September 30th, 2020, 10:26 PM
As someone who's really bad at appreciating written poetry, I've adored spoken poetry since I originally came across it about five or six years ago. This guy just blew me away. Gave me goosebumps, chills, the whole nine. It makes me want to actually watch America's Got Talent--and maybe I even will if they get more people like him on there. Really really awesome poetry. Thanks so much for sharing this PiP. :)

PiP
September 30th, 2020, 11:03 PM
As someone who's really bad at appreciating written poetry, I've adored spoken poetry since I originally came across it about five or six years ago. This guy just blew me away. Gave me goosebumps, chills, the whole nine. It makes me want to actually watch America's Got Talent--and maybe I even will if they get more people like him on there. Really really awesome poetry. Thanks so much for sharing this PiP. :)
It was -xXx- who brought it to my attention and like you I was blown away. I wonder if spoken word poetry is written more in prose format. I'd love to see a hard copy of the poems Brandon read.

Tiamat
October 1st, 2020, 01:04 AM
I think the drama inherent in actually performing it helps a lot too.

TL Murphy
October 1st, 2020, 03:56 AM
It’s really performance art. The poetry is there to support the performance.

-xXx-
October 1st, 2020, 10:27 PM
Spoken word adds a whole new dimension to poetry.
We write poetry, we read it aloud with passion
but will a 3rd person reading the written word really project with the same passion?
<snip fuse snip>
I wonder if spoken word poetry is written more in prose format.
i like to use eric clapton layla for these kinds of wonderings.
i don't read or interpret my own writing the same over time.
i see that as a positive.
i don't think i know of any real absolute statics.

spoken word runs the full gambit as other art forms do.
many people experience change from thought
to word
to word spoken
to word spoken before open ears
as transformative progression.
yes.
conventional poetic forms are regularly shared.
no.
there is no special emphasis on poetic prose
or performance in many groups/communities.
it can spontaneously occur during poet immersion experience.


Having poetry on a general talent contest is something else though.

imho (still unqualified to have any opinion on anything)
brandon is to (media) communications
what
metallica is
to their presentation/interpretation
within the music spheres.
remember how long they were not acknowledged
despite
the empirical measure of sustained sales
which was touted as the industry standard measure.
hypocrisy could no longer hide.

don't underestimate the connotations.
media.
refer to the visual, audio aspects of his word presentation.
communications.
truth.
personal face, global connection point, tight focus, transmit evocative/transformative emotion.
non-threatening and rehumanizing.
this/his moment validates.
words are vital.
...words will never hurt me....
death of a common complex embedded social management tool cascade.
as communications/arts reorganize
HE
is a template
for
everyhere evernow.
jussayin'
:)
now double check judge reaction.
howie uses language professionally.
his critical contribution to this moment
-his moment of recognition-
-the maturing of that cascade-
validation of not just value, but value vital to this now

howie IS successful connection with reader/listener/other-than-poet

see the wonder of it?
:D
yes.
i can try to convert much of the above
into conventional written communication structures.
if i must.
k.

PiP
October 1st, 2020, 10:38 PM
When we close our eyes and just listen to his voice can we achieve the same connection? For me, removing the visual aspect, made his words MORE powerful because I was not distracted.

-xXx-
October 16th, 2020, 04:25 PM
today,
i call you
shakespeare
chaucer-cicero-d'ante
aquinas
move
ing(s)

balcony-stair-bridge-pier
open air
open ear

listen
hear

;)

clark
October 18th, 2020, 02:02 AM
A lot of kudos for Brandon's performance here. I add my praise to the general lot. I also feel that it's super-great to see poetry so move the young voters that Brandon won their votes. This might mean that the collective unconscious of young people is starved for real feeling and real emotion, rather than the thunka-thunka-thunka boombox bullshit that characterizes much of the music young people favour.

I like spoken word and performance poetry . . .as long as I remind myself that the key is the PERFORMER, not the poetry. Without his superb ability as an actor, some sections and subsections of Brandon's poem would be as flat as piss on a plate. Or mawkish and overdone. Or just prose. The performer is so critical to Spoken Word that it is actually unfair to put the words flat on a page and try to deal with them as only Written Word.

If you're unfamiliar with KATE TEMPEST, you might check out her numerous readings on YouTube. She recites 25-minute poems with nary a note. And it isn't impromptu--da beat, occasional rhyming sections, and other poetic devices throughout, indicate that the pieces are carefully crafted as well as creative and thoughtful.

-xXx-
October 18th, 2020, 01:52 PM
The performer is so critical to Spoken Word that it is actually unfair to put the words flat on a page and try to deal with them as only Written Word.

let's pretend
that what is written
is intended to be read
that which is read
is intended to be said
that which is said
is intended to be heard
that which is heard
is communicated through word

i might suggest that form (poetic, etc)
assists in study of art and science
of linguistic elements,
much as musical scales
assist in exploring relationships
between tones.

i might further suggest
that a musical composition
reflects understanding
of scales
and interplay,
as do linguistic compositions.

i might suggest that the fit, form and function
of brandon leake's work
is poetry.

i might suggest that the tools
with which he crafts his work
are poetry.

i would also suggest that,
as in many arenas of contemporary life,
conflict intensifies
where ritual collides.

i invite you to celebrate
the enormous contribution this gifted language crafter
is making at this time, in this multifaceted reality set.

i am confident
he is celebrating
your craft
by gifting
everyone
equally.

let's pretend.

*his accomplishment*
*in no way*
*diminishes*
*the works of other poets*

:)

clark
October 20th, 2020, 12:32 AM
My comments below are exclusively on the text of -xXx-'s posts.

1. post#15 closes with this offer:

i can try to covert much of the above
into conventional written communication structures.
if i must.
k.

I would appreciate seeing the points made in "conventional . . . structures" because the staccato short-line style may blur some points in what appears to be a linear, sequential argument, I think in rebuttal of my suggestion that Spoken Word text alone might not fare too well if experienced without a performer.

2. My post was not a negative comment on Brandon's performance. Far from it: I was quite enthralled. My post was an attempt to describe, not criticize, the various factors implicit in Spoken Word that are not assumed in 'normal' poetry. First, a Spoken Word piece is a script, a guide for the performer, not a polished poem. Such 'polished' conventional poems are often heavily edited on numerous occasions as the poet struggles to get on the page exactly what she/he wants.

3. I got from -xXx-'s posts a reverential tone towards Brandon's performance as an example of a "new" poetry which brought the Art form to the people ,and that gift is what is needed in the NOW:

many people experience change from thought
to word
to word spoken
to word spoken before open ears
as transformative progression.
yes.
conventional poetic forms are regularly shared.
no.

From this, "conventional poetic forms" are seen as Old School, static linguistic forms that should be supplanted by Spoken Word, because conventional poetry lacks social utility. As a use of the Word it is moribund; Spoken Word stands as the instrument of "transformative progression" which will bring poetry back to the people.

The assumption here is that conventional poetry has a burden of social responsibility to the Now which it has not and does not accept. This seems important to the argument.

4. If my last remark is accurate--and it may not be--the core assumption needs to be challenged. For a very long time, conventional poetry has attempted to capture in words the poet's sense of some kind of vision, specific idea or expansive ideal, expressed hope, celebration . . .much more. "The right words in the right order". That many poets revise, revise, revise is an indication of the precision of both process and final copy. That final copy is considered a work of Art . . .an interactive work of Art which requires a reader to complete it BUT, though poetry IS sound and rhythm and music and is enriched when heard as well as read, it need not necessarily be performed.

To be experienced fully, Spoken Word must be performed.

I see no problem whatsoever in Spoken Word and conventional poetry existing side-by-side in the canon of poetic forms. It's all good. Each form fulfills needs for different audiences. One need not supplant the other. One is not "better than" the other.

TL Murphy
October 25th, 2020, 06:28 PM
Clark writes:


though poetry IS sound and rhythm and music and is enriched when heard as well as read, it need not necessarily be performed.


To be experienced fully, Spoken Word must be performed.


I see no problem whatsoever in Spoken Word and conventional poetry existing side-by-side in the canon of poetic forms. It's all good. Each form fulfills needs for different audiences. One need not supplant the other. One is not "better than" the other.


Spoken Word IS poetry, but it is also performance, so in that way it is also DRAMA. Spoken Word is a fusion of poetry and drama. Song lyrics are also poetry, but song is music. A lot of song lyrics would fail on the page without the music to back it up and the same can be said for Spoken Word. A great performance piece may fail on the page without the performance to back it up. So Spoken Word is really a genre of its own. There is poetry, song, drama and spoken word. They all share elements of poetry but they are all distinct genres.

I used to do a lot of spoken word, until I realized that the “performance” aspect of it is a whole direction on its own. To be a successful Spoken Word artist, you have to be more than a gifted poet. The poet must take on a persona, play a character, and play it well. For me, that is an added element of drama that I would just a soon not indulge in. As a poet, it removes some of the authenticity of the poem. Any poem can be entertaining with enough performance behind it. But that says nothing about the quality of the poem as literature.

So Spoken Word brings poetry to the people as a form of entertainment. That’s great. The poetry audience has expanded exponentially as a result. Fantastic! But they aren’t the same thing. Spoken word is poetry but poetry isn’t spoken word.

Gumby
October 25th, 2020, 06:33 PM
I can agree with that, Tim. I can't perform my poetry or anyone else's for that matter, as I don't have the acting chops, but in my head I can perform the hell out of a poem. :)

PiP
October 25th, 2020, 08:20 PM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRULtXn6W0s

-xXx-
October 25th, 2020, 08:25 PM
*sorry pip*
*bad post timing on my part*
*flip the post order*
*nevermind*
*i r haz quoteability*

k.
in attempt to be mindful of original OP post
and
how much devolve becomes different thread

is a poetry reading performance art?
does a poet reading his own work or another reader reading
change that dynamic to performance art?

spoken word groups in which i participate
are not drama groups.
often they are verbal presentation
of written form
poetry
by
the poet.

many of those individuals are fine literature academics
who use their exploration of language
through various written (poetic) forms
to explore themselves and their perceived reality constructs.

virtually all of them agree that oral spoken traditions
precede attempts to externally engrave communication symbols.
many agree those attempts served at least three purposes:
to prompt the keeper of the tale
to communicate the prompts to students
to communicate between social groups

virtually all of them agree that what is engraved
does not fully embody or convey a totality.

i would suggest that many poets recognize
writing to be externalization
of an internal processing tool set.

i would suggest that any reader
interprets/performs that set of symbols
according to their translational/interpretative tool set.

did brandon's selection of form and sequencing of content
assist in his being recognized as having talent (legitimizing)
by a prime time/popular demographic
act as social validation of poets?
yes.
powerfully so.

sculpture.
not chisel.
as focal point.
feel free to break out any concepts that are not focused
on the OP subject.

does the written form of brandon's work
connect with a significant number
of readers.
yes.

will brandon's work endure?
chances are really good.

i believe the issue may be what constitutes literature?
communications, media and blending?
yeah.

best,
:)

-xXx-
October 25th, 2020, 08:41 PM
*better*
:)


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRULtXn6W0s

TL Murphy
October 25th, 2020, 08:56 PM
A verbal presentation of a poem is called a "reading". It isn't Spoken Word. Although it is obvious that the genres can overlap. Just like poetry and song can overlap. If you listen to a lot of Leonard Cohen, it is poetry set to music but we don't call it poetry, we call it music because of the instrumentation. Spoken Word is what it is because of the performance, and frankly, it has a lot to do with the expectations of the audience. A poetry reading is aural poetry. But I really don't see the point in quibbling. Sure, some might argue that all verbal poetry is spoken word. Whatever.

PiP
October 25th, 2020, 10:33 PM
did brandon's selection of form and sequencing of content
assist in his being recognized as having talent (legitimizing)
by a prime time/popular demographic
act as social validation of poets?
yes.
powerfully so.

sculpture.
not chisel.
as focal point.
feel free to break out any concepts that are not focused
on the OP subject.

does the written form of brandon's work
connect with a significant number
of readers.
yes.

will brandon's work endure?
chances are really good.

i believe the issue may be what constitutes literature?
communications, media and blending?
yeah.

best,
:)

i believe the issue may be what constitutes literature?
communications, media and blending?
yeah.

xXx you raise some excellent points Especially text highlighted in red

TL Murphy
October 26th, 2020, 12:51 AM
Art is constantly evolving. Impressionism, abstraction, cubism, all set the art world on it’s ear. Imagist poetry, minimalist poetry, free form, sound poetry had similar effects. In retrospect we see all of it as an historical tapestry. Spoken Word is no different than these other innovations. It’s poetry and therefore it’s literature.

clark
October 26th, 2020, 01:44 AM
We're just vibrating the air now. . .and the sine waves are dipping and rising in only marginally different curves. The discussion has become congratulatory as much as oppositional. Significant discussion requires some fundamental disagreements, some sources of tension and ongoing movement towards either 'victory' to one side or approbation of some kind for both. We are in fundamental agreement on the important aspects of this discussion. Along this road, you have taught me some stuff that I value, but I'm not going to get into it any further.