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Spoken word poet Now here is a career guaranteed to ring the alarm bells of parents and friends obsessed with things like job security, earning power and benefits. Lucky they have their own lives to live and have no right interfering in yours. If you have a way with words and something important to say, then by all means, get up on your soapbox and pursue the wildly creative life of a spoken word poet. Writing and performing poetry in person at bars, cafes, concert halls, bookshops and other spaces, spoken word poets, or slam poets, are independent artists who entertain, bemuse, thrill and provide inspiration. Gifted with an ability to connect with others through their words, spoken word poets revolutionised the world of poetry. Other forms of writing and entertainment rose to prominence with the introduction of the television and radio, and poetry was left on the shelf for decades until a few key players breathed new life into the historic medium in the sixties and seventies. Live performance of poetry made a resurgence in these decades thanks to poetry cafes popping up in cultural hot spots like New York. Combining elements of comedy, hip-hop and freestyle rap, poetry made a serious comeback. With poetry slam competitions now held everywhere from Melbourne to Montreal, people are coming to spoken word poetry from a wide range of backgrounds and education levels. If you’ve got the gift of the gab, the confidence to perform live and the imagination required to pen new material that moves and inspires people, then spoken word poetry could be for you. There’s no need for a Harvard degree or qualifications from a performing arts school; spoken word poetry is an art that can be perfected by almost anyone. Of course, there will be plenty of naysayers, doubters and people who just don’t understand your career path, but this is one of those

professions where you have to say ‘screw it’ to convention and just go for it with all your energy. The best way to get into the game is to watch the greats, read the greats and practise, practise, practise. Read poetry books, attend poetry performances, be a part of the scene, drink it all up and then unleash your best on the world. So how do poets make money anyway? Having the ability to hustle like your life depended on it is a huge part of being a successful working poet. Poets can make money in a variety of ways. From ticket sales for live performances to earning money from writing poetry for magazines, to printing your own poetry books and facilitating slam poetry workshops in schools, colleges and even prisons, an income can be earned from poetry. Of course, marketing and promotional skills are needed in order to make it, so is the ability to network with people in the industry. The life of an independent artist is never an easy one, but it’s guaranteed to be interesting. So do you want an easy life or an interesting life? If you chose the latter then spoken word poetry could be the right path for you.

The lowdown

Education or qualifications: None. Experience required: None. Training: None. Restrictions: None.

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

I can get paid for that?  

NOTE: This e-gallery is for press purposes only. No images or other copyrighted materials seen here may be reproduced. Contact patrick@smi...

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