Intersections Between Spoken Word in the UK and US: A Nexus in Dialogue

Helen Johnson, Jacob Sam-la Rose

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


    This chapter explores intersections between UK and US spoken word. It takes the form of a curated conversation between Jacob Sam-La Rose, a London-based spoken word poet, educator and events manager, who has worked extensively with young poets in the UK and beyond, and Helen Johnson, a spoken word poet, events organiser, and academic with expertise in poetry slam and spoken word. We begin by exploring our own individual journeys into spoken word, considering how we first encountered US poets/poetry, and the impact this had on us as writers, performers, educators and commentators. We then explore salient strands of the UK/US spoken word relationship over the past twenty-five years, picking up along the way: key sites of interaction between UK and US spoken word artists; some prominent figures in these sites; the nature and flow of change in spoken word; distinctions in/between UK and US spoken word styles; connections between the youth slam and spoken word scenes of these two countries; academic research and comment on spoken word; the professionalisation and commercialisation of the art form; and how this UK/US relationship illuminates a network of global intersections. We are joined in our dialogue by several key poets who have helped shape the UK/US spoken word relationship in significant ways.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSpoken Word in the UK
    EditorsLucy English, Jack McGowan
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020


    • spoken word
    • Poetry


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