ISSN 1551-8086
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   poets list
   Francisco Dominguez & Aire Celeste Norell
   Marie Lecrivain & Angel Uriel Perales
   Sheikha A.
   Steve Abee
   L. Ward Abel
   Carl Abt
   Han Adcock
   Elizabeth Addis
   Aderemi Adegbite
   Adeolu Emmanuel Adesanya
   Neil Aitken
   M.I Akande
   Shahd Al-Shemmari
   Lynn Albanese
   Nicole Alexander
   Gwyndyn Alexander
   Scott Alexander
   Alaina Renee Alexander
   Inalegwu Omapada Alifa
   Maureen Alsop
   Rafael Alvarado
   Steven Alvarez
   Keiko Amano
   Veronica An
   Amy Anderson
   Kristine Anderson
   G.D. Anderson
   Zack Anderson
   Lori Anderson-Moseman
   Grace Andreacchi
   Renae Andruse
   Arlene Ang
   Roger Angle
   Stephen Anstay
   Azure Antoinette
   Theresa Antonia
   Aurora Antonovic
   Maria A Arana
   Carlye Archibeque
   Joseph Armstead
   Feral Artist
   Baron James Ashanti
   Charlene M. Ashendorf
    Askew
   Gregory Austin
   Shawn Aveningo
   maeghanne ayers
   Goodness Lanre Ayoola
   John-Patrick Ayson
   Jim Babwe
   Sophie Bachard
   Vasile Baghiu
   Bridget Bagne
   song-hue bahk
   Michael Baker
   Prerna Bakshi
   Anna Balint
   David Banuelos
   Jared Barbick
   J. Mae Barizo
   Peter Barlow
   Matthew A. Barraza
   James Barros
   Jeni Bate
   Jonathan Beale
   Richard Beban
   Gary Beck
   Gary Beck
   Lytton Bell
   Hakim Bellamy
   Michele Beller
   Laura Bellotti
   Stefanie Bennett
   Hayley Berariu
   Lawrence Berger
   Kevin Berger
   Mike Berger, Ph.D.
   Tom Berman
   luis cuauhtemoc berriozabal
   Catherine Berry
   Nick Bertelson
    Besskepp
   Mary Rose Betten
   Cheryl Beychok
   Gwendolyn Beyer
   François Biajoux
   Heitham Black
   Jarvis Black
   Beau Blue
   Rose Mary Boehm
   Bonnie Bolling
   Julie Bolt
   Lek Borja
   Cristogianni Borsella
   Gerald Bosacker
   Amanda Boschetto
   Wendy Bourke
   Jack G. Bowman
   Jennifer Bradpiece
   Bob Bradshaw
   Marcielle Brandler
   Peter Branson
   Sumiko Braun
   Adam Bresson
   Quiana Briggs
   Jack Bristow
   paulo brito
   Alan Britt
   Michelle Brodeur
   Lynne Bronstein
   Charles Brooks
   Leah Brown
   Deborah Edler Brown
   Adam Levon Brown
   Jason Sanford Brown
   zoey brown
   Bob Browning
   Sir Mark Bruback
   MC Bruce
   Jeffrey Bryant
   Kate Buckley
   Robin M. Buehler
   Ron Burch
   Graham Burchell
   Maria Rose Burgio
   Betsy Burke
   Matt Burns
   Richard Burrill
   Tony Bush
   Zachary C. Bush
   Elissa Calvin
   Joseph Camhi
   Velene Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Neil Campbell
   Don Kingfisher Campbell
   Dana Campbell
   Luis Campos
   Janine Canan
   Lyn Cannaday
   Pasquale Capacosa
   Joey Capone
   Hélène Cardona
   Britton Laine Carducci
   D.J. Carlile
   Julia Carlson
   Alicia Carpenter
   Jonathan Carr
   Patricia Carragon
   Oscar Carrasco
   Jared Carter
   Michael Aaron Casares
   John Casey
   Lisa Castro
   Rachael Kelechi Caulker
   Nika Cavat
   Michael Caylo-Baradi
   Steve Ceniceros
   Michael Ceraolo
    Cerise
   Robert Cesaretti
   Cheryl Chambers
   Lita-Luise Chappell
   Shibani Chattopadhyay
   Lisa Cheby
   Beth Cheng
   Ralph-Michael Chiaia
   Juhi Chowdhury
   David Christensen
   Terry Clark
   Phil Clark
   Terry Clark
   Darice Clark
   Charles Claymore
   Jeanette Clough
   Kim Cochran
   Ed Coet
   Tobi Cogswell
   Megan Coker
   Bruce Colbert
   Karen E. Cole
   Merrill Cole
   Christopher Coleman
   Larry Colker
   Beverly M. Collins
   Christiane Conésa-Bostock
   David Concepcion
   Christiane Conesa-Bostock
   Brendan Connell
   Alice Constantine
   Jack Cooper
   Flavia Cosma
   Rachel Coventry
   R. Paul Craig
   David Cravens
   William Crawford
   Natalie Crick
   Rosemarie Crisafi
   Carla Criscuolo
   Chris Crittenden
   Benjamin Crowley
   Susan Culver
   Joe Cyr
   Jim D Babwe
   Morgaine d'Abney
   Karen Corcoran Dabkowski
   Daniel Daian
    Dalton
   Catherine Daly
   Iris Dan
   Marie Lecrivain & Daniel Gallik
   Dan Danila
   Michelle Daugherty
   Piper Davenport
   Kathrine David
   Gareth Davies
   Holly Day
   Frank De Canio
   Gregory De Feo
   Steve De France
   J de Salvo
   J. de Salvo
   kumari de Silva
   Pijush Kanti Deb
   Shalla DeGuzman
   JD DeHart
   Diane Dehler
   Aurelius Demarco
   Darren C Demaree
   Gloria Derge
   Chris Derrico
   Lea Deschenes
   Maurice Devitt
   Theo Diamantis
   Mike Dias
   Martin Dickinson
   Edward J DiMaio
   Mark Dixon
   Peggy Dobreer
   Rosemarie Dombrowski
   Francisco J. Dominguez
   Linsly Donnelly
   Lisa Helene Donovan
   Kevin Doran
   Marvin Louis Dorsey
   John Dorsey
   Marvin Dorsey
   Laura A. Lionello & Douglas Richardson
   Doug Draime
   Donelle Dreese
   Dale Duke
   Jawanza Dumisani
   Henri Dumolet
   Max Dunbar
   Robin Wyatt Dunn
   t. joseph dunn
   Tyler Dupuis
    Durenda
   Walter Durk
   Douglas Dvorkin
   Ron Dvorkin
   Amitabh Vikram Dwivedi
   Alfie Ebojo aka alfie numeric
   Elisabeth Adwin Edwards
   Sabrina Edwards
   Patricia J. Edwards
   Miguel Eichelberger
   John Elison
   Julian Ellis
   Neil Ellman
   K. Eltinaé
   R.M. Engelhardt
   Margarita Engle
   Jon Epstein
   Sufi Erter
   Eli Eshaghian
   Michael Estabrook
   Alexis Rhone Fancher
   Richard Fein
   John Feins
   Emily Fernandez
   Melissa Fischer
   W.S. Fisher
   Jamie Asae FitzGerald
   Amelia Fleetwood
   Jake Fleshner
   John Jay Flicker
   David Flynn
   Arthur Charles Ford
   Liz Fortini
   Sesshu Foster
   Heather Fowler
   Clint Frakes
   Sarah Francois
   Amélie Frank
   Amelie Frank
   Alex M. Frankel
   Allie Frazier
   E.L. Freifeld
   M. Frias Frias-May
   Suzanne Frost
   Delia J. Fry
   Elliott Gabay
   Steven Gabriel
   Timothy Gager
   Daniel Gallik
   J Gamble
   Ishmael Garay
   Jerry Garcia
   Daniel Garcia-Black
   Gabriella Garofalo
   Vince Garofalo
   Yvonne Garrett
   Nelson Gary
   Donna Gebron
   Ulrike Gerbig
   Janice Gero
   Ursula T. Gibson
   Rebecca Gimblett
   Tony Gloeggler
   Steve Goldman
   Vesna Goldsworthy
   Melanie Gonzalez
   Jeffrey Graessley
   Allison Grayhurst
   Jeff Green
   Timothy Green
   Jeanie Greensfelder
   Rhoda Greenstone
   Amos Greig
   John Greiner
   John Grey
   Summer Griffiths
   Danielle Grilli
   Brian Grillo
   John Grochalski
   Wendy Grosskopf
   Andrew Grossman
   Ro Gunetilleke
   Kenneth Gurney
   John R. Guthrie
   Debashish Haar
   Erik Haber
   Hedy Habra
   Tresha Faye Haefner
   Matthias Hagedorn
   James Hall
   Tom Hamilton
   David Harrington
   William Harris
   Matt Harris
   Dawnell Harrison
   J. Alana Hauenschild
   Kari J. Hayes
   KJ Hays
   Ann L. Healey
   Eloise Klein Healy
   Jessica Healy
   Jim Heavily
   Dan Hedges
   Paul Hellweg
   Samantha Henderson
   Jack Henry
   David Herrle
   JD Heskin
   Kenneth Hickey
   Jerry Hicks
   Marvin R Hiemstra
   Ed Higgins
   Carlos Hiraldo
   Sherri Hoffman
   Guy Hogan
   Ali Hosseiny
   Dave Houston
   Eric Howard
   Nate Howard
   David Howard
   Bryon D. Howell
   A J Huffman
   Hunter Lee Hughes
   Roger Humes
   Trista Hurley-Waxali
   Elizabeth Iannaci
   Thea Iberall
   Armine Iknadossian
   Gedda Ilves
   Alegria Imperial
   Victor Infante
   Victor D. Infante
   Augustus Invictus
   Susan Irvine
   Alexandra Isacson
   Natalie Itzhaki
   Amber Jacob
   Scott Jacobson
   Larry Jaffe
   Sonika Jaggi
   Emmanuel Jakpa
   Matthew James
   Andrea Janov
   T.A. Jennings
   Ivan Jenson
   Dani Jimenez
   Michael Lee Johnson
   Alex Johnson
   Lois P. Jones
   Tao Jones
   Strider Marcus Jones
   Georgia Jones-Davis
   Jasmin Jordan
   Quentin Josephy
   Liu Jue
   Ruth Juris
   Gene Justice
   Gary Justice
   Pete Justus
   Mikel K
   Scott C. Kaestner
   Sheema Kalbasi
   Peycho Kanev
   Rachel Kann
   Jay Kantor
   Paula Sfier Kattan
   Russ Kazmierczak
   James Keane
   Gretchen Keer
   Aaron Keller
   Collin Kelley
   Kamuran Kelly
   Raud Kennedy
   Bernard Kennedy
   Kathleen Kenny
   Stephen Kerr
   Hari Bhajan Khalsa
   Just Kibbe
   Jerome Kiel
   lalo kikiriki
   Robert S King
   Ashley King
   Franklin Lafayette King
   Sofia Kioroglou
   Rusty Kjarvik
   Kenny Klein
   LeAnne Kline
   Julia Knobloch
   Deborah P Kolodji
   Tracy Koretsky
   Edith Kornfeld
   George Korolog
   Dimitris P. Kraniotis
   Thomas KrÀmer
   Mark Krewatch
   Chris Krueger
   Amanda Krut
   Gerard Kuc
   Christopher Kuhn
   Donna Kuhn
   Len Kuntz
   Craig Kurtz
   Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
   Daniel Lambert
   Anthony Langford
   Donald Langosy
   Ray Lanthier
   Phillip Larrea
   Phillip Larrea
   Kasandra Larsen
   Wolf Larsen
   Ethan Latham
   Lisa LaTourette
   Marie Lecrivain & Laura A. Lionello
   Marianne LaValle-Vincent
   Kevin Lavey
   Judith A. Lawrence
   Eric Lawson
   Richard Leach
   Anne Lecrivain
   Marie Lecrivain
   Noah Lederman
   Pete Lee
   Kevin Patrick Lee
   Emma Lee
   N.M. Leepsa
   Alexandra Leggat
   Laura LeHew
   Gary Lehmann
   Sharmagne Leland-St. John
   Kevin LeMaster
   Michal Lemberger
   Kim Leng
   Roland Lesterin
   Tiffany Lettieri
   P.A. Levy
   Martin Lewis
   Cheyenne Lewis
   Anthony Liccione
   Cynthia Linville
   Laura Lionello
   Zachary Locklin
   Jessica Lopez
   Harold Lorin
   Tess. Lotta
   B.D. Love
   Adam Lowis
   Ron Lucas
   Andrew Lundwall
   Rick Lupert
   Suzan Lustig
   Radomir Luza
   Stosh Machek
   John MacKenna
   Sarah Maclay
   Stefanie Maclin
    Magdalena
   Gary Maggio
   Holly Magill
   Anthony Magistrale
   Marieta Maglas
   Suvi Mahonen
   Donal Mahoney
   Robert Maiolo
   Kelly Ann Malone
   Michael Malota
   Shahé Mankerian
   Angela Consolo Mankiewicz
   Chris Mansell
   H.E. Mantel
   April-May March
   Rick Marlatt
   John Marshall
   Agnes Marton
   Francis Masat
   Lee Mason
   Anthony Mason
   Hyatt Mason
   Johnny Masuda
   Mira N. Mataric
   Ellyn Maybe
   Michelle Mazzetti
   Mary L. Mazzocco
   Ted Mc Carthy
   Austin McCarron
   Terry McCarty
   Paul McConnell
   Brendan McCormack
   Deborah McCreath-Akbar
   Catfish McDaris
   Bray McDonald
   Karen J McDonnell
   Matt McGee
   Allen McGill
   Afric McGlinchey
   Terance James McGunigle
   David McIntire
   Cat Angelique McIntire
   david mclean
   Isobel McQueen
   Fernando Meisenhaulter
    Mephistopheles
   Corey Mesler
   Melissa Michaels
    Mike the Poet
   Richard Lee Miller
   Robert John Miller
   Scott Miller
   Hany Haggag Abdl Mobdy
   Richard Modiano
   William Mohr
   Sonnet Mondal
   Jason Monios
   Leslie Monsour
   Amanda Montei
   Patrick Mooney
   Greggory Moore
   Carl Moore
    Albert Lee Moran
   A.J. Morelli
   Christopher Mulrooney
   Frank Mundo
   Barbara-Marie Mundt
   Augusto Munoz
   Mark Murphy
   Craig Murray
   Kristine Ong Muslim
   JL Nathan
   Nimah Nawwab
   Leslie Maryann Neal
   Jason Neese
   Raghab Nepal
   Robbi Nester
   Mindy Nettifee
   Martina Reisz Newberry
   Beth Escott Newcomer
   Peter Nezafati
   Scott Nichols
   keith niles
   Dave Nordling
   Aire Celeste Norell
   Steve Norwood
   Laura Nye
   Toti O'Brien
   Charlotte O'Brien
   Suzanne O'Connell
   Katie O'Loughlin
   Peter O'Niell
   Tom O'Reilly
   Akor Emmanuel Oche
   A.J. Odasso
   Rita Odeh
   Kirsten Ogden
   Daniel Olivas
   Maurice Oliver
   Marc Olmstead
   Philip ONeil
   Nzingah Oniwosan
   Chika Onyenezi
   Sergio Ortiz
   David Ishaya Osu
   Scott Thomas Outlar
   Holly Painter
   Lizbeth Palma
   Heather Palmer
   Greg Patrick
   Miss Natalie Patterson
   David E. Patton
   Tim Peeler
   Steve Pelcman
   Angel Perales
   Alice Pero
   Angela J. Perry
   Helen Peterson
   Brenda Petrakos
   Adam Phillips
   James G Piatt
   Rebecca Pierce
   Gareth Pike
   James Pinkerton
   Rob Plath
   Kushal Poddar
   Contributors to poeticdiversity
   Meg Pokrass
   Traian Pop Traian
   Bethany W Pope
   Wayne E. Popelka
   Elisha Porot
   Adrian Potter
   Ren Powell
   Frank Praeger
   Luke Prater
   Kristena Prater
   Shannon Prince
   Stephany Prodromides
   Hattie Quinn
   Octavio Quintanilla
   Beverly J. Raffaele
    Raindog
   Catherine Rajca
   Steve Ramirez
   Mauricio Alejandro Ramos
   Vishnu Rao
   Ingrid Rattay
   James Rauff
   Kasey Ray
   Bili Redd
   Brian Redfern
   Marie Rennard
   Luivette Resto
   E.W. Richardson
   John Richmond
   Francisca Ricinski-Marienfeld
   Kevin Ridgeway
   Lillian Ridgeway
   Dee Rimbaud
   Elijiah Rios
   Cat Risinger
   Ariel Robello
   Ebi Robert
   John D Robinson
   Paula Rodriguez
   Nydia Rojas
   Daniel Romo
   Emily Rose
   Rina Rose
   Diana Rosen
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   Cody Rukasin
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   Maryann Russo
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   April Salzano
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   Lisa Marie Sandoval
   Cecile Sarruf
    Sasparella
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   Anthony Seidman
   Oleg Semonov
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   Dahn Shaulis
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   Durlabh Singh
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   Lee Sloca
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   Clinton Smith
    smzang
   Kate Soto
   Ghetto Speare
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   Alex Stolis
   Karr Stratynberg
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   Keith Stump
   Daniel Suffian
   Annette Sugden
   J. C. Sullivan
   Mani Suri
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   John Talbird
   Sister Taxi Hopscotch
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   Jonathan Taylor
   Mark Taylor
   Allen Taylor
   Paul Kareem Tayyar
   Alene Terzian
    The Unarmed Man
   A. Thiagarajan
   G. Murray Thomas
   Lynne Thompson
   David Thornbrugh
   Kari Thune
   Sarah Thursday
   Ilona Timoszuk
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    TJungle
   Chrys Tobey
    tolbert
   Imani Tolliver
   A. TOMIC
   Anthony Torchia
   Mary Torregrossa
   Zev Torres
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   Tri Tran
   Ryan Tranquilla
   Alain Marcel Treadaway
   Pedro Trevino-Ramirez
   Ben Trigg
   Paul Tristram
   Maja Trochimczyk
    Troy
   The TruthHearse
   Tatiana Tulskaya
   Yelena and Roman Tunkel
   John Turi
   Danny Uebbing
   Amy Upham
   Amy Uyematsu
   Philomena van Rijswijk
   Gene van Troyer
   Wanda Vanhoy Smith
   Brenda Varda
   Luis Rubio Vargas
   Carmen Vega
   Ms. Veronica
   Papa Vic
   Clee Villasor
   Ajise Vincent
   Curran D. Vinson
   Jason Visconti
   Anca Vlasopolos
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   toren wallace
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   Charlie Weber
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   Desmond Weindorf
   Cindy Weinstein
   Denise R. Weuve
   Rev. Dave Wheeler
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   Kelley White
   Leigh White
   J.T. Whitehead
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   John Sibley Williams
   Patrick Williamson
   Martin Willitts, Jr
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   Robert D. Wilson
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   Alicia Winski
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   Terry Wolverton
   Nina Womack
   Seth Woolf
   Kirby Wright
   Gianna Wurzl
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   Julie Yi
   Gregory T. Young
   Britney Young
   Omar ZahZah
   Mariano Zaro
   Michael Zeltser
    
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Marie Lecrivain
February 2004
   

 

Building the Revolution: Mark Eleveld, editor of The Spoken Word Revolution

I got a tip from the Cobalt list on Yahoo in November 2003 about a
benefit at Beyond Baroque in Venice for the Midnight Special
Bookstore (I'm SO glad they're back in business).



The benefit (which was well attended, and not by Lord Of The Rings fans),
showcased poets from the anthology The Spoken Word Revolution
(Sourcebooks), a compilation of poets from old to new school,
academic to slam, classic to street and back again.



Performing that night were Patricia Smith, Marvin Bell, Regie
Gibson, Saul Williams, Luis Rodriguez, Victor Infante, Mike McGee
& Viggo Mortensen. John Condron (www.johncondron.com) generated streams of bluesy
background music as the poets shared
the power of the poetic word.



Emceeing the event was Mark Eleveld, editor of TSWR. With a combination
of verve and gentlemanly spirit, he eagerly introduced each poet to
the audience, performed selections from the anthology,
and graciously encouraged the patrons of the event to support the
Midnight Special Bookstore.



The man who could run, with such enthusiasm, an event as diverse as
the benefit at Beyond Baroque is the same man who (with a great deal
of time and care)has produced a literary collection that has unified the
diversity of the modern poetry scene.





pd: How/when did you first get involved with the poetry
scene in Chicago and with Marc Smith?



Eleveld: In 1991 I took a class taught by Marc Smith at
Lewis University, outside of Chicago. A professor friend
knew I was into poetry and told me to check out this
'new' brand of poetry with Marc Smith. The class was
on Performance Poetry, but we incorporated Sandburg,
Kerouac, Millay, Yeats, Cummings, etc. The final was
performing at the Green Mill.



pd: How did the idea for TSWR come about? What/who
determined the selection process for the poetry that
makes up this anthology?



Eleveld: Long story but...I am probably the world's only
'call-in' editor. I was listening to Milt Rosenberg's
WGN show late at night, and the feature was Kevin
Stein (current Poet Laureate of Illinois) and
Dominique Raccah, publisher at Sourcebooks. Both had
recent anthologies out, Kevin's Illinois Voices and
Dominique's Poetry Speaks, which had sold over
100,000 at the time. Dominique's book includes three
cd's of 'canon' poets reading their own work. Whitman,
Plath, Hughes, etc. No Slam poets represented. Kevin's
book included the 'most' influential poets in Illinois
history--no Slam poets.





The topic turned to how
important it is to hear poets recite their own work,
and that this was a new phenomenon. Kevin was doing
most of the talking. He also remarked that poetry is
going through a revitalization...again, no mention of
Marc, or Pat Smith, or Regie Gibson, etc. So I called
in (I had already read and listened to both books) and
said that I was glad their books were received well,
but disappointed that they didn't recognize what truly
has inspired poetry to become as big (if not bigger)
than the Chicago '20's--Slam poetry. That Slam, in
fact, revitalized the whole of reading poetry aloud.
Kevin said he struggled with this in his book, but
that eventually he came to the conclusion that their
work was good on the stage, but not page.





I went
nuts--I had just received a starred review from ALA
Booklist for Regie Gibson's book Storms Beneath the
Skin
; I knew he was wrong and talked about the design
of putting poetry sets together, pleasure to the
audience etc, and further said that the 'famous
professor nobodys' (including Stein) were represented
in his book when Marc Smith was not??? At this point
Dominique spoke up and said she was working on a book
of Spoken Word/Slam poetry at Sourcebooks. I went to
school the next day, gave my students a bad
assignment, and drafted an email to Dominique
overemphasizing my role in Slam. They called for a
lunch. We talked, set up some proposals--received
Marc's blessing--and went into contract. There is a little more, but...





pd: What/who determined the selection process for the
poetry that makes up this anthology?



Eleveld:I used my teacher reviewer 'rubrics' to determine
some fundamental starting grounds. I also determined
early on that this would be an introductory book--not
a definitive collection--mostly designed for people
outside of the community. So I leaned a little some of
the more 'established' poets I had worked with. When I
came up with the lits and read the work, I came up
with a larger three point system:



1. I wanted to document some of the history of the
current movement while these people are still alive.
I always found it ironic that contemporary or modern
poetry classes usually end in the late
fifties...sometimes they sneak in the 60's and beyond,
but that is rare.



2. I wanted to mend some fences between peoples and
'scenes' that might not have been associated in the
past. Having the U.S. Poet Laureate, Guggenheim
President, Iowa Writers Workshop professor, Pulitzer
Prizewinner, Carnegie Professor of the Year, etc.,
next to Slammers, next to Performance Artist, next to
the Youth--an interesting coming together of voices
that have never been paired together like that before.
I always refer people to the opening of the
book--Billy Collins and Regie Gibson (Intro to Poetry
and Alchemy), to complete opposites in everything, and
yet both poems are great, and both poems reflect the
same theme. Also wanted bring Holman and Smith
together, start a theory of how hip hop influenced slam
and vice-versa, get the real story from Jacobus about
how the boxing matched preceded Slam, etc. Mending
fences. Remember, in the 80's slam and Marc Smith took
HUGE beatings in the media. Professors would say such
awful, awful things....



3. I wanted to show that the writing in the Slam scene
is just as strong--if not stronger--as any other
scene.



Once I had made my selections, I had an inner
circle of editors, colleagues in the academy, street
poets who I spent days with going over the selections.
Many of the poets in the book made recommendations as
well: Taylor Mali, Regie Gibson, specifically. And we
looked at sales as well. This book would do nobody any
good if it sat on a shelf somewhere, so we tried to
find some names of people we thought would help sell
the book as well. The hope is that this is one of a
long series, that someone picks up the reins and does
TSWR II, or III, or IV. The first thing Marc said to
me when we started this book, "Hey kid, this is four
or five books easy."





pd: What was your hardest task as the editor of TSWR?
the most enjoyable?



Eleveld: I don't know if this was the hardest, but going in as
a relatively unknown person and meeting and
establishing relationships with all of these different
poets. As a whole, they were extremely trusting of me
and what I wanted to do with their work. I did tons,
and tons of research, but I still depended on many of
the poets to fill in the blanks. As I mentioned,
Taylor and Regie were on board from day one...and both
made wonderful suggestions and helped me get to some
people. Jerry Quickly more than guided me through some
introductory discussions and ideas on hip hop, rap and
poetry. Terry Jacobus was great, and Marvin Bell was
great. And Marc Smith. What can you say...I dropped
his name so, so much. Even outside the community, he
has such a strong reputation--even the ones that don't
like the movement or the slams know of Marc, and are
respectful of what he has done. Holman was very kind.
Pat Smith, Cin Salach were fantastic. Viggo and the
director of his press Pilar were very accommodating.
It seemed as if this book wanted to be done, and
people wanted it done...Of course the hardest part of the process was
leaving out people who deserve to be in such a
book...but ultimately those are the limitations of the
medium. Conversely, that is what makes the stage and
the community so important--it doesn't leave anyone out. Again, I hope this is just one of many, many
volumes that can be edited by others and include all
that deserve to be in it.





pd: What kind of responses have you (as an editor)gotten from those who've read the anthology?



Eleveld: Mostly very, very positive. We've been reviewed in all of the major trade papers/magazines, and only really received one bad review from someone who doesn't mention any of the poetry, only the politics of the scene--which is unfortunate. But word on the street had been great. Word in the scene has been great. We just sold out the first 20,000 in less than a year, and are in another run. The book had been adapted in over 14 university's as well as several high schools. I'll tell you though, my biggest critics are my students--my high school students. They are brutal. They don't hold back, and tell you straight out when something doesn't work.



Ultimately,I passed every selection by my students, as well as help proofing, and over 40 percent of the photos come from one of my students. I had very little to do with the design of the book, but at one point the publisher sent me three covers to help choose from. I put them on the board at school, and all three failed miserably. So the students wrote over 200 letters of critique about the cover--and the publishing company took it into account and did a nice job amending.
Now, the students love the book. They love bringing the poets in, having them sign the book, reciting their own work, etc. Just the other day a student showed me his copy where he had Jack McCarthy and some of the other poets in town for some stuff sign it...one poet signed, "Write your own fucking poem", the student just beamed at me and showed me the one he wrote in response. But the book has been received well by different ages, different ethnicities, genders, etc. Very special.





pd: You've gone on record as stating The Spoken Word Revolution is an introduction to the diversity in the modern poetry scene. Politics aside, where do you see the future of modern poetry heading? Is unity of this diversity possible and sustainable?



Eleveld: I don't know. I can see it becoming more commercial...but if it isn't guided by the right heads in terms of it's commercialism I can see that as a deterring effect. I can see people in the scene for awhile looking for a material pot of gold that probably will never be there; so if those are some of the motivations, I can see people feeling exhausted, burnt out, frustrated over their lack of celebrity.



Ultimately (not to be to repetitive), the future has to be forged in the weekly, monthly shows that the Slam format offers. And not to keep jumping on a platform, but if people want a model: Marc Smith has been running his uptown poetry slam for seventeen years, EVERY Sunday to crowds of 150-300...weekly. No matter what happens in the future, that is where Marc has made his largest impact. Live and uncensored. No movie, book, CD, etc., will ever capture the feeling of a live show. They can get close (I think we do a fair job on the CD in the book) but I would take a live show any day. That's where the community is. And the motivations still have to remain relatively unselfish and community centered. I've had many a friend in the poetry world talking about how burnt out they are, or how dead slam is...and students come up to me frustrated, "Slam is dead? Poetry isn't good."Although some people use it for this, and some people get there, Slam is not a forum for celebrity. At the heart of the format is an exchange of ideas and emotions in an artistic fashion which most of or commercialized entertainment does not offer. The book's role is to introduce people to this.





Mark Eleveld is co-publisher at EM Press and a board
member of the Midland Authors Society in Chicago. He
is a freelance writer and book reviewer for the
Kankakee Daily Journal in Illinois. Mark Eleveld did
press relations for poet Marc Smith from 1993 to 1996.
He teaches English at Joliet West High School and is a
philosophy instructor at the University of St. Francis
in Illinois. He lives in Joliet, Illinois.


copyright 2004 Marie Lecrivain