Poetry is an art that is more than a written experience. Its flow can be expressed gracefully in dance, artfully in drawings and paintings, visually in photographic series, and powerfully in oral performances. In performance poetry, poets present their unique voices and styles as they engage in poetic presentations on stage in front of live audiences. There is a rhythm and exuberance in their performances as exhibited through intonations, gestures, and overall delivery.
Taylor Mali, a slam poet, uses his voice to project rhythmic thoughts on the topic of teachers. Brod Bagertbrings his humor to his performance poetry that is often written for children. I have heard both poets present on stage at the NCTE and ILA Conferences and have been enthralled by the way they capture their audiences.
What drew me to the topic of performance poetry was a postcard from Tanzania sent to me from Margaret Simon as a response to the 2016 Poem Swap package I sent her.
After I received the postcard, I wondered about the Tanzania Experience so I engaged in an internet search. Subsequently, I found a wonderful performance poet, Zuhura Zu Senge'enge, on Facebook under the page, Tanzania Poetry. Zuhura, called the African Lioness, launched her CD last month with a performance that you can hear below. She dedicated her poem "to all the women around the world...for your contribution in building and shaping the world."
Zuhura, Taylor, and Mali use their talents to project their voices out into the world through the power of poetry. If the giraffe in Margaret's poet could speak poetically, what might he say about his homeland to visitors?