Stage Invasion : poetry and the spoken word renaissance / Pete Bearder
London : Out-Spoken Press, 2019
What has been added to our collection this month? Here are a few highlights:
We haven’t had time to read this hot-off-the-press door-stopper yet but chapter headings like ‘The path of the poem through the body’ and ‘Reviving the ecstatic: live poetry, transcendence and altered states of conscience’ have us very excited: a bang-up-to-date history of spoken word might just be the toolbox we need to help us make sense of where we’re at in this topsy turvy world. The author Peter Bearder, a former National Slam Champion, has previously been awarded The Golden Hammer for services to spoken word. Does that make him the Thor of performance poetry? We think it does!
This is just one (very shiny!) treasure in a large haul we’ve just landed from Face Press. The text inside twinkles too - with red asterisks, footnotes and crossings-out. Cassels begins: ‘My mother died this summer’ and fills thirty pages with graceful prose reflections on grief, with reference to critics, philosophers and poets, including commentary on poems by Emily Berry and Denise Riley. A treatise on the healing powers (or not) of make-up, beauty and poetry. Darkly refreshing.
Although not strictly acquired this month, Everything All At Once by Steve Camden recently won the CLiPPA (Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award) so it’s deserving of some attention. Steve Camden has made a name for himself as spoken word artist PolarBear but in recent years has started writing for Young Adults and this is his debut YA poetry collection. The collection zooms in and out of moments and voices at a secondary school - from first day to last, French lessons to lunch lines. Chair of the CLiPPA judges A. F. Harrold said on awarding the prize to this book: “The heartaches and the anxieties, the laughs, the embarrassments and the low slants of daylight. It’s as much a guidebook to navigating those tricky waters as it is a record of what he’s seen. A copy of this should be given to every kid about to go up to secondary school.”