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Spoken Word Artists Harness the Power of Utterance

by Katie Leo 


Tags: Arts, performance, spoken word poetry, Bassey Ikpi, Giles Li,

gilesliFor poets Bassey Ikpi and Giles Li, spoken utterance has the undeniable power to create bonds between people across physical and social divides. These two artists came up during the re-emergence of the contemporary spoken word scene, when groups like the Nuyoricans and programs like HBO's Def Poetry Jam brought the art form to a wide audience. Like many performance artists, Boston-based Li and D.C.-based Ikpi developed their craft as a means for expression, a way to share in a commonality of viewpoint and emotion with a live audience. And now, even as Ikpi has graced Def Poetry Jam five times and Li has established the Boston Progress Arts Collective and toured the country, their success hasn't deterred them from that original impulse. They still write from that place of wanting to be heard.

Read the entire piece: Spoken-Word Artists Bassey Ikpi and Giles Li Tell It Like It Is 

Photo of Giles Li by FireBox Photography

Listen Now:
Giles Li performs his spoken-word poetry

Poet Bassey Ikpi on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam: