Intermedia Arts announced its 2009 VERVE Grant winners. The VERVE is the only dedicated spoken word grant in the country, and is funded by the Jerome Foundation. The VERVE is a grant specifically to fund the creation of new art by emerging spoken word artists.
This year’s winners are Tou Saiko Lee, Tish Jones, Kyle “El Guante” Myhre, Khary Jackson (6 is 9), and the Poetic Assassins. A quick google search easily demonstrates the worth of the work of these artists, and the nature of spoken word as an artwork tied into communities and activism. It is one of the most compelling themes of spoken word- the writer/performer is nothing if they don’t have an audience. Where a painting or photograph can hang on a wall and wait for the audience to come to it, and always has a chance to make a first impression on another viewer, or a book can be written and wait to be discovered, the spoken word performer must have an audience, and must connect with that audience as a whole- must stir the audience in that moment. Many of the VERVE grant winners demonstrate a desire, not only to forward their own personal artworks, but to push forward the success of their communities (not just the spoken word communities- sometimes their community is the GLBTQ community, an ethnic minority, a city neighborhood, or a public school system). These names are names to keep an eye on- these folks are movers and shakers.
HEY! Spoken word performers. I want your 50 word bio, so I can link it off of the Bios page. Details at that page, these are going up soon, and I’ve only gotten a few of them thus far.