Matt Crowley/The AS Review
At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17, slam poetry supergroup Poetry Revival will bring their sharp wit and lyrical wordplay to the Viking Union Multipurpose Room as part of their Night Kite Revival tour. Tickets can be purchased at the Performing Arts Center box office or website for $5 with student ID or $7 for general admission.
Poetry Revival is comprised of three core members: Derrick Brown, Anis Mojgani and Buddy Wakefield. All have proven themselves in the world of spoken word poetry, opening for bands, other spoken word artists and even appearing on national television. Although the three of them comprise the majority of Poetry Revival, they invite other poets to join them when they go out on tour.
The show will last around two hours, showcasing their talents while encouraging audience participation. Previous tours have been described as a powerful experience, and it’s unlikely that this year’s show will disappoint.
“It’s not an opportunity that comes by all the time,” said AS Special Events Coordinator Maddy Vonhoff. “It opens up your world to stuff you aren’t exposed to in class.”
Vonhoff decided to bring Poetry Revival’s newest tour to campus due to previous successful performances in Bellingham.
“One of my goals this year is to provide something for everyone,” said Vonhoff. “Bellingham and Western do have a taste for stuff like slam poetry. It’s something they can not only watch but do as well.”
Though each member has been practicing for years, Poetry Revival didn’t become a reality until a few years ago.
Brown, a former paratrooper for the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, is arguably the leader. Having toured for years at over 1,300 venues, Brown is a respected name in the world of spoken word and has been booked with bands like The Flaming Lips, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and the Cold War Kids. He has also worked with Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame, as well as actor Viggo Mortenson.
“We started the revival four years ago to whirl the winds of the masses into a whittled bit of inspirado,” said Brown. “We wanted a show that wasn’t boring. We wanted to fill hearts like they were dumpsters full of sofa bread and dreams.”
Though Brown says he is “more drawn to poetry in general,” spoken word shows “proved that you could sell more books and get more face love at a spoken word event.”
Brown is also the president of Write Bloody Publishing, an independent publisher that promotes works of fiction, poetry and art. Brown started Write Bloody in 2004, years before Poetry Revival, in an effort to help both established and up-and-coming poets have their work published. The philosophy of Write Bloody is to “let the poets and authors who tour be the marketing; let this publishing house be the source for a movement,” according to its website.
Like Brown, Mojgani and Wakefield are celebrated poets. Mojgani has performed on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and appeared in multiple respected literary journals, while Wakefield has won two Individual World Poetry Slam titles.
The three set out a few years ago to create a “disarming verbal circus successfully reviving, redeeming and releasing its audiences from the heaviness of lives caught in holding patterns,” according to their website, and it appears they’ve done just that. The group has received overwhelming praise from their peers, publications and colleges across the nation. For a taste of what’s in store, visit their website at thepoetryrevival.com.