Honesty, Performance & Emotion

Malaika Kegode

When people compliment poetry, three words tend to come up a lot, “honest”, “brave” and “real”. These three qualities are treated as the holy grail for spoken word performers of a certain ilk. That ilk being the evocative, emotive poets who make you do a little cry when you watch them. The most frequent question I’m asked about my own work, “how do you talk about such personal subject matters on stage?”, I’ve never been fully equipped to answer without sounding a bit ethereal and wanky. I tell people that once you find the right words in the right order, it becomes a struggle not to share them.

That is true, but it’s also true that performers, underneath all their neuroses and foibles, are massive show offs. We’re all searching for some kind of validation from an audience, the reasons behind this are different for everyone, and validation comes in…

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