In-Depth Look: Carmen Gillespie – “The Blue Black Wet of Wood” (Motionpoems)

In-Depth Look: Carmen Gillespie – “The Blue Black Wet of Wood” (Motionpoems)

Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.

“But the distance outlines an edge where a house may have stood…”

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Write-up by Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre


Get Guante’s Book Here
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While the immediacy of live performance footage is a big part of why slam poetry has really taken off over the past few years, it’s important to remember that spoken word is a much more versatile, dynamic form, one that lends itself to a multitude of different contexts and approaches. I’m reminded of Marc Bamuthi Joseph’s unforgettable spoken word theater work, Ursula Rucker closing out so many Roots albums so powerfully, the lasting influence of Gil Scott-Heron, and so many other poets whose work intersects with music, dance, theater, or other media.

“The Blue Black Wet of Wood” is a short poem, compared to most of the poems on this channel, and lends itself to multiple readings/listens; note how the poem uses color (specifically blue and black), and the suggestive imagery and word choices that accompany that use. Interspersed with dialogue from an interview, as well as the evocative imagery of the video, we get to experience the poem in pieces, allowing each beautifully-crafted lyric phrase to really sink in. The impressionistic effect– the way that the poem, the interview, and the imagery build upon one another– speaks to the power and potential of cross-discipline collaboration and thinking beyond the slam stage.

Find more from Carmen Gillespie here.

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While you’re here on our site, make sure to check out our books and merchandise in the Button Store, including Guante’s own book, as well as titles by Danez Smith, Neil Hilborn, Donte Collins, Sabrina Benaim, Melissa Lozada-Oliva, William Evans, and our newest release from Rudy Francisco!

Surprise! We got a free e-book for you check it out