April 4, 2022 Rhiannon Ingle

Q&A: Homer to Hip Hop – A People’s History of Spoken Word

Hello and welcome to this Q&A series where we ask the weirdest, wildest, and most wonderful questions to the brilliant people behind some of the fabulous shows going on here at The Edge.

For this week, we’ve got in touch with Pete the Temp all about the upcoming event making its way to The Edge this week, Homer to Hip Hop – A People’s History of Spoken Word.

A journey through the poetic movements that shaped history with national slam poetry champion, musician, and comic, Pete the Temp – this will definitely get you excited about all things poetry.

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your introduction into the world of words…

 Spoken word made me an activist. I saw Clare Fawcett do a poem about Climate Camp and it got me into direct action civil disobedience. Later I remember going to a poetry slam and it pushed all my buttons. It was fun, comic, interactive, emotional, and intelligent. I knew then that this is what I want to do. 

2. What do you think has been the most influential period of history for the spoken word/poetry movement?

Radio, and later TV, killed a thriving tradition of live poetry that had been the fabric of British daily culture and mass media right up to the First World War. But in the nineteen fifties, beat/jazz poets made poetry popular again by being relevant, innovative, and performative with their words. People have been finding new ways to revive the ancient fireside tradition of oral poetry in successive musical, political and artistic movements since then: Merseybeat, hippie culture, dub, punk, hip hop, slam, grime… Pretty much any movement will have its poets. 

3. How do you go about making the world of poetry and spoken word so inclusive and accessible?

Spoken word can get more accessible and inclusive. It is inclusive compared to many other art forms, but it needs to stay in a state of evolution.  Accessibility is a big conversation within the art form. I guess this is one of the benefits of an art form that is itself a big conversation. 

4. What is so specifically unique about Manchester’s poetry scene and what sets it apart from the other major cities?

Manchester has always been one of the most vibing cultural scenes in the country. People who live and practice there are proud of their city and rightly so. Manchester has a sense of humour and an attitude that is great for live poetry. Thick Richard is a great example of this. 

5. If you had to narrow it down, who would make it onto your top three poets of all time and why?

Two poets who have been a big influence on my work are David J Pugilist for daring to be completely different (he’s reclusive so find him on Youtube); and Hannah Silva for making experimental sound poetry with loop machines. Jalaluddin Rumi is a Sufi Islamic poet who gets read out a lot at poetry nights. I’d like to hear more mystical-themed poetry. His work is a valuable inheritance for our species.

If this sounds like something you’d be interested in then head over to The Edge this Friday and learn why wordsmiths have always been vilified, feared, and revered, from ballad singers and beat poets, to icons of dub, punk, and hip hop.

Homer to Hip Hop – A People’s History of Spoken Word, will be on at The Edge Friday 20th May kicking off at 7:30 pm.

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