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ERIC Number: ED474559
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Feb
Pages: 19
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Narratives of Youth: Cultural Critique through Spoken Word.
Sparks, Barbara; Grochowski, Chad
This paper explores a new youth movement, spoken word, and the role it plays in identity development for many disenfranchised youth. Often addressing issues of identity, politics, gender, and power relations, young performance poets are carving out a critical public and educative space where they can speak "who they are." There is a growing youth movement in the United States built around spoken word poetry. Spoken word poetry, or performance poetry, provides a potentially critical space for teens to manipulate language in wholly customizable ways, encouraging expressive forms not often found in more conventional venues, such as educational classrooms. The growth of this popular culture movement has recently been facilitated by adult poet/performers, high school teachers, and an increasing number of community organizations, such as Youth Speaks in San Francisco (California), which offers after-school writing workshops for teens. Young people who stand up and share their poetry at poetry slams are driven not simply by an interest in reinventing language, rhymes, and representations. These youth are defining themselves and mapping their social communities, providing politically charged testimony through the use of their own realities and experiences. As youth learn how to use their voices to speak what they know, they illuminate for educators the role of spoken word in providing a critical public and educative space. This paper explores the role of that space and how it facilitates identity development for many disenfranchised youth, by examining the discursive processes of spoken word, by which identity is constructed, and to the specific language and discourses used by selected spoken word poets. The paper concludes with thoughts on the pedagogical implications of spoken word. Contains 13 selected references. (Author/BT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California (San Francisco)