Def Poetry: The Silence is Deafening

I’ve been really digging the latest 2 DVDs in my “collection”: season 2 and 3 of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. Yes, I love my poetry. So imagine a stand up comedy show where one comedian goes on after the other except replace them with poets. The show is on HBO so you’ve got your share of profanity, all in the name of artistic expression I suppose. Hip Hop artist and actor Mos Def hosts the show and poets range from the unknown to the more celebrity likes of Jamie Foxx, Malcolm Jamal Warner and Kanye West. The pieces range from topical issues in politics and society to just plain personal stuff. Though the overall magic, the real spectacle, is not only in their words but their delivery; every one a unique performance.

I thought I might share a few clips (not all at the same time of course) at least until someone sues me and I have to take them down.

The first piece is from a poet named Rives entitled “Sign Language” (right click and save as)

Here’s a little info about the poet:

Since bursting onto the spoken word scene in early 2002, Rives has quickly earned a reputation as a gutsy poet on the lookout for the limits of the human voice – the funny, the funky, the drop-dead lonely and the music music music.

Rives was the Los Feliz Team Grand Slam Champ for 2002, and the winner of the Berlin International Poetry Slam last October. At the 2002 National Poetry Slam in Minneapolis, Rives’ impromptu free-style about his fellow competitors on the Finals Night stage earned him a standing ovation from the crowd. He has been featured at NYC’s Urbana and The Nuyorican Cafe, at Chicago’s Green Mill (the birthplace of slam), at L.A.’s Da Poetry Lounge, and a bunch of venues in between. He has appeared on, BET’s Lyric Cafe, HBO’s Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry, and in the upcoming feature film Fighting Words.

A writer and paper engineer by trade, Rives’ most recent pop-up book, If I Were a Polar Bear, is available from Piggytoes Press.


Your Two Piasters: