independent

Thursday 18 September 2014

Welcome to the cutting edge

JOE LEOGUE

Published 18/07/2013 | 05:26

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Jinx Lennon

ANOTHER first for this year's Indiependence Music & Arts festival will be the Spoken Word Stage, a place for poets and performers to showcase a different side of the arts.

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The stage is curated by Cork-based punk poet Carl Plover, who performs under the pseudonym Wasps Vs Humans, and he warns that anyone expecting the venue to be a place of genteel poetry readings are in for a rude awakening.

"I think there's a real difference between spoken word and slam poetry, and your traditional poetry. I got interested in acts like John Cooper Clarke and performance poets who are more rock n'roll about the whole thing. Our slam poetry stage will be the cutting edge of the Irish scene.

"There's a real strong line-up of poets and it's a completely different feel to what you might find at a poetry club with someone reading a book or something like that. It's far more cutting edge," Carl explains.

"I'm very excited to be involved in something like this - it's the first time for Indiependence doing anything like this and hopefully there'll be good feedback from it so it's something we can take forward," he says, adding that the art form is growing in influence.

"It's a very underground art form. I got into it a few years ago and there's such a big scene. There's a big scene in Dublin, London and New York and there's such a large following for it but a lot of people haven't had exposure to it, so the great thing about the Indiependence Festival is that they are giving coverage to something like this."

Carl singles out the musical poetry crossover of Jinx Lennon who is "fantastic" to see.

"There are some of the top Dublin slam poets coming down for the festival. There's Colin Keegan, who is absolutely wonderful; there's Steven James Smith and John Cummins, they're all completely different styles. To see these kind of poets in actions is to see the whole room silenced to the point that you can hear a pin drop.

"It's an amazing power, even though it's just words, there's no music involved, but when it's done properly it's so powerful as an art form.

"They really put forward messages - not flowery, they're quite cutting, it's wonderful to see.

"When putting the line up together we just went to get the best we could get and I think we've achieved that with the acts performing," Carl says.

Performance poetry, he says, hasn't fallen into line the way pop music must, so there's a greater freedom to express

"I think everything in popular music feels very safe at the moment, and I think the great thing about it is that performance poetry isn't conforming to anything ... it's completely raw, it's punk, it's in people's faces and it tells it like it is," Carl suggests.

"It can be very, very tender as well, though. Some of it is almost a hip-hop crossover, it's all about the rhythm of the words, the delivery of the words. People like John Cummins almost have a hip-hop vibe to his work."

And what of his own work? What can people expect from Wasps Vs Humans?

"I highlight things like the obsession of celebrity culture, everything seems to be about fame these days and looking beautiful. When I was a kid I wanted to be a drummer in a band, but now it's about being a famous something, there's a definite vibe of people wanting to be in the papers ... and it's all detrimental to the arts.

I have observations, snapshots of life. It's hard hitting, I'm influenced by John Cooper Clarke and people like that.

So, to try something a little different check out Wasps Vs Humans, Jinx Lennon and other performances at the Spoken Word stage over the Indiependence weekend.

Corkman

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