From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up—As in The Spoken Word Revolution
(Sourcebooks, 2003), Redux
provides an overview of the many movements—among them slam and hip-hop—that comprise a modern renaissance of performance poetry, a shout-out to poetry's oral roots. Teens will recognize some of the writers and performers, from actor Ethan Hawke to Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan. The placement of traditional poets' work and readings next to those of today's performance artists forces readers/listeners to question the very definition of poetry. Critical essays punctuate the selections, further unraveling such questions as, "What is poetry's intent?" Or, simply, "What is poetry?" Clearly, in a collection dedicated to performance poetry, the accompanying CD is of vital importance. It includes only a selection of the book's poems, complete with sometimes-explicit but never gratuitous lyrics, and not all are performed in their entirety. While the CD gives the book its legs, today's students and educators will undoubtedly itch for a DVD or even downloadable video file to experience the full effect of the poem's delivery. Ultimately, much of Redux
retreads the same ground as its predecessor, but it remains a well-crafted, dynamic tool that will not only enliven any poetry classroom, but also legitimizes art forms that are important to many of today's students.—Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT
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In an essay titled "Poetry as a Basic Human Need," Ted Kooser, U.S. poet laureate, describes spoken-word or performance poetry as "a turning back toward the excitement our ancestors felt as they sat close to the fire and listened to their shaman tells stories." And excitement abounds in this welcoming, inclusive, and expert collection and substantial accompanying performance CD. Eleveld, coeditor with the legendary performance poet Marc Smith of Spoken Word Revolution
(2003), has selected poems of high energy and deep feeling, vivid imagery and mischievous wit. Poems that can hold their own on the page. Eleveld traces rivers of influence by mixing together works by Mark Strand and Nikki Giovanni, performance "elders," poetry slam winners, high-school students, and poets from abroad. The bond between music and poetry is explored in poems by musicians, including Gil Scott-Heron, Jeff Tweedy, and Billy Corgan, and in poems about music. With razor-sharp critical essays from diverse perspectives interleaved among poems forthright, shrewd, and fired by compassion and love, this is a galvanizing, mind-expanding, and hopeful collection. Donna SeamanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved