Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Interview with ShadoKat of "S.W.A.P. 2011: The Spoken Word Almanac Project"

By Byrne Harrison

ShadoKat is "rapidly becoming a leading force in the spoken-word world" (Home News Tribune, 2007).

A New Jersey Native, ShadoKat has exploded upon the spoken word scene rousing audiences across the United States and Europe while featuring at venues such as The Green Mil Theatre in Chicago, Club Cargo in London, New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and even garnering a 3rd place finish at the Apollo Theatre's renowned Amateur Night. In 2006, he reached another high level of acclaim when voters across the nation named him the National Underground Spoken Word and Poetry Award's Male Performer of the Year. Using hip-hop influenced style and cynical humor, his passionate messages don't shy away from various topics; speaking on social awareness, community issues, and upliftment with what The Star Ledger of New Jersey refers to as “ verbal virtuosity." (The Star Ledger, 2007).

ShadoKat has been a Poetry slam finalist at the world famous Nuyorican Poet’s Café Poetry Slam, Bowery Poetry Club’s Urbana Slam, Louder Arts Poetry Slam and Newark Poetry Slam. He is one of a small circle of poets who qualified for all three New York City Poetry Slam Finals in the same year. He competed in the National Poetry Slam in 2005 and 2007, placing in the top 25 individually in 2007.

His highly anticipated album, Rebirth of the Mic', was released in April 2006, and he won another National Underground Poetry Award in 2007 for his poem, “The Last Poet on the Open Mic”. In 2008, ShadoKat co-founded a touring poetry collective called “Words with A Pulse” and has been a featured performer and lecturer at many colleges and universities including Rutgers University, Depaul University, Virginia Tech and the University of Maryland.

ShadoKat has Bachelor of Arts degree in Black Studies and Creative Writing, and is continuing his graduate studies. Currently he is working on his forthcoming Spoken Word Album and is performing as part of the Spoken Word Almanac Project creative cast.

S.W.A.P. 2011: The Spoken Word Almanac Project is billed as a "poetry and media extravaganza recapping the news events of 2011." What can we expect to see?

Seeing people experience the show for the first time is my favorite part of the performance. S.W.A.P. is collective of poets performing poetry that we have been writing throughout the year about any news event that inspired us. The sometimes dramatic and sometimes funny poems address a variety of events and news stories including politics, Lindsay Lohan, Occupy Wall Street and even Superman. The poems are then enlivened with a projected collage of photography and video that bolsters and interprets each poem.

How did you decide what to cover? 2011 was a pretty big year in the news.

No matter how many writers we have, we know there is no way we can possibly cover everything. However, we strive to maintain a balance between engaging popular news stories and revealing news stories that may have slipped through the cracks for the public. Typically in the show we touch on all "major" news stories for the year and we also publish a book that showcases a ton of other poems that don't make it into the show. The book is available for sale at the show

What inspired you to approach this using poetry?

The show was the brainchild of Darian Dauchan and Malcolm Barrett, both of whom come from a history of spoken word and poetry in New York City. By using the dynamic artform, performance poetry, we are able to invite and include many poets with a variety of styles, expressions and viewpoints. :Poetry creates a flexible theatre show that is alive and speaks directfully to the audience.

Tell me a little about your team.

Every year the team of writers is exciting! We have several Veteran members including the founder and producer Darian Dauchan, Joanna Hoffman, Justin Woo and myself, Adam Bowser. This group, in addition to the new talented cast, include published poets, poetry slam champions and award-winning writers. An important aspect of the casting is the inclusion of poets from various environments and poetry disciplines; we also invited several highly talented graduate writers from the prestigous youth organization, Urban Word. Each team member has already had substantial success and acclaim outside of The Spoken Word Alamanc Project.

Can you give me a little sample of some of the poetry from the show?

We would love to share with you sample poetry! Here are a few links of snippets from the show:

S.W.A.P. 2011: The Spoken Word Almanac Project
"A Year in Review from a Poet's Point of View"
Friday, January 06 at 9:00PM

at Wild Project
195 East 3rd St. (btwn Avenues A & B)

No comments: