As our eyes silently read a poem on the page, at the same time inside our heads we may also hear our own voice. Whether this internal oral rendition is halting or flat, or conversely lovely and fluid depends on the complexity of image and thought, but even more on how much care the poet took in creating the sound values in the poem and line breaks that further its clarity and flow.
What a delicious prospect then to be able to hear an accomplished Spoken Word artist tickle our senses and enrich our appreciation with tonal subtleties.
What a disappointment when the performance doesn’t deliver. I would have assumed that Spoken Word goes beyond mouthing a poem out loud. What if the lines are dulled to a perfunctory monotone? What if they assault in a hammered-out rant? Minus pacing and the rises and falls that engage ear and mind, perhaps better just to enjoy the poem on the page?