Many old oak trees in America are considered historical sites for all the storytelling, speeches & reading aloud performed there. The shelter, shade & resonate acoustics from a leafy-thick canopy make a natural theatre.
wordsmith,performers,artists give a dramatic showing
shaping a "family tree" of american spoken word.
The SpokenOak site is an exploration of performance art forms in the US & Canada that have come to be called Spoken Word. Here, we use an oak tree image to symbol the multi-branching, ever-spreading organic nature of Spoken Word. This offers a novel way to envision & explore the diversity of Spoken Word in America by tracing dramatic genres & word sound artists that are historically connected, continually evolving, & inspired by those who came before.
The cultivation of SpokenOak is made possible by the following enthusiasts of Spoken Word:
Zoa Smith is the inventor of the word sound art form Talkapella™ & is the principal writer of SpokenOak.com. She planted the idea for this site & knowledge of the history & craft of Spoken Word is filtered through her lifelong career as a Northwest performance artist. The How Do You… link is a composite of Zoa's (absurd but always interesting) media interviews. Her search for a meaningful, comprehensive definition of Spoken Word remains an ultimate obsession.
Meg Grace, TheWebTiger is a web developer, performance musician & teacher and serves as project manager, web mistress & hosting rep for SpokenOak.
Chris Baunach of Sixegg is a graphic designer, photographer & musician living in Portland, Oregon. She created the look of this site & produced all graphic file designs.
Dr. Barb Sussex is a research scholar & publicist for Zoa's Talkapella Show. She has provided editing, patronage, archival & office assistance along with commonsense advice.
We fertilize this spoken word "family tree" with (no manure) only vital word-specific information & resources. We water it with little known facts & prune only for the sake of plain language. SpokenOak is easy to navigate, entertaining & historically accurate to support the intricate tangle of fans & artists of spokenword. Visit regularly as we add more text on specific performance genres, post current resources & reach for the sky.
You can tell Zoa about spokenword forms you have discovered, request a link, or send comments to: Zoa.
Photo & Digital Image Credits:
Inline images for Telling Roots, Early Traditions & Futurwurds: Watercolor/ink collages by James McCully of Portland, OR.
Inline photo this page: Performance poet Zoa Smith by photographer Adam H. Stewart of Portland, OR.
Main photo for Industriots Page: Radio talent Abrasha Robofsky by photographer Howard Liberman, LOC, Prints & Photography Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [LC-USE6-D-010237].
Main photo for Sound Waves: Vocalist Connie Halnes by photographer David Bransby, LOC, Prints & Photography Division, FSA/OWI Collection, [LC-USE6-D-010258].
Main photos for Telling Roots, Po-mo, Rap, Futurwurds are public domain images from Stock.XCHNG.
Main photo for Early Traditions is a public domain image from PDphoto.org.