Performance poetry is coming alive in Washington, says local poet Bea McWhirter, who arranged for a quartet of Washington poets to appear in a two-hour show at 6 p.m. Saturday in A. Salon in Georgetown.
"But performance poetry is a different type of delivery. It's expression," explains McWhirter, and the poet may express his work in a dramatic voice, in props, or in music and movement. The Saturday show -- "Performing It" -- documents the current movement in Washington, courtesy of a grant from the D.C. Commission on the Arts.
Appearing with McWhirter will be M'Wile Yaw Askari, Garth Tate and Chasen Gaver, established poets McWhirter handpicked for the show. "We perform our own works for about 20 minutes apiece" says McWhirter. Irmagard Bradley is an added performer who offers a selection from "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf."
"Poets have a certain level of consciousness that makes them different from others," notes the native Washingtonian, whose work encompasses the women's movement and people in general -- particularly blacks, she says. But straight poetry readings can be boring: "The performance makes poetry more intense and commercial. That attracts a larger audience and keeps it alive."