At Broken Mic, Performance Poetry Thrives

By Vestal, Shawn | The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA), May 12, 2012 | Go to article overview

At Broken Mic, Performance Poetry Thrives


Vestal, Shawn, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)


If your image of a poetry reading is a quiet, genteel affair, you've obviously never been to a Broken Mic reading.

The weekly open-mic event in downtown Spokane operates by different rules. People eat and drink and clank silverware. No one turns off their cellphone, and they talk if they feel like it. The audience hoots, hollers and heckles - all officially, heartily endorsed behavior.

"If you heckle, heckle loud," says Mark Anderson, the impresario of this poetry circus, and the audience obeys enthusiastically.

The raucous, barroom spirit is just one of the ways that Broken Mic - held every Wednesday night at Neato Burrito - is setting itself apart. It's also grown into a standing-room-only portion of the city's literary scene, and marks a small but thriving presence for performance poetry in Spokane.

"The group of people who come down here to read are willing to be berated," said Travis Naught, a poet and writer who's a regular at the reading. "Not in a bad way."

Anderson is Broken Mic's organizer, emcee, lighting director, donations collector and guiding spirit, as well as one of the chief poets. Like several of the regulars, he's a performance poet - reciting from memory, emphasizing the spoken rather than written nature of the work. It's not unique to these readings or Spokane - the spoken-word form shares a long history with slam poetry, coffeehouse readings and hip-hop traditions - but the genre seems to be undergoing an intense, if relatively small, resurgence.

"It's sort of like a fraternity of poets," said Jade Sylvan, a traveling performance poet who was the featured guest on Wednesday. "If you're a working performance poet, there will be at least one night (in any city) where people come together. ... There is actually a very ravenous audience for performance poetry. It's smaller than for music, but they're very passionate about it."

In Spokane, Anderson is the center of that particular universe. A graduate of Eastern Washington University in psychology, the 24- year-old Anderson is living with his folks and devoting himself full- time to writing, performing and organizing poetry. His own work is surprising and funny, darting from the smart to the strange in unexpected ways. He's also - for someone who strikes you initially as quiet and perhaps shy - a clever, extroverted performer. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

At Broken Mic, Performance Poetry Thrives
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.