“Words in Your Face” seeks to promote the art of performance poetry in New Delhi

Poetry, even when printed on a piece of paper, is never just that. It carries within it, as the poet Vivek Narayanan said, “the ghost of a sound, a voice, a music”. Taking this belief forward, a group of poets will come together this Sunday at Siri Fort for “Words in Your Face”, a spoken word event.

Organised by Delhi Poetry Slam, an initiative that aims to “restore the art of spoken word into the everyday culture of the Capital”, the event brings together poets and performers from various backgrounds. They include Areon Carter, Ankita Naik. Daisy Hills, Mayanka Mukherji, Frank Tavares, Justin Davis, Chris McEwen, Sugandha Das, Michael Creighton and Nicole Sumner.

According to Saumya Choudhury, a poet and an organiser of the event, while poetry recitations and readings have been going on in the City for quite some time now, people are not familiar with performance poetry yet. The term connotes a broad spectrum of performances – ranging “from an ensemble to a soloist performing on a mic, with everything in between,” says Nicole Sumner, who has won a poetry slam in Seattle.

The poets have entered performance from different backgrounds. While Nicole attributes it to her experience in street theatre, Chris McEwen, a 17-year-old poet, puts it down to witnessing spoken word artiste Miles Hodges in New Delhi. Talking about the possibilities of performance, Chris finds that it has much more emotion to it than the written word while Nicole finds it more effective. Having witnessed the thriving comedy scene in Delhi, she believes it is possible to combine aspects of comedy into a poetry performance. “Poetry can be a little heavy and can be hard to take in. If you have poets you have a comedic aspect, I would like that mix,” she says.