by Richelle Kimble
A group of Grand Rapids’ growing community of spoken word performers is taking center stage at The Knickerbocker on July 31. The event showcases Rachel Gleason, features Kyd Kane, who’s spoken word exhibit was a top ten finalist in 2017 ArtPrize, and special guests Michaelyn Mankle, Gabrielle Sorge, and KFG.
Although the art of spoken word has existed for centuries across the world, the rise of performance poetry grew in the U.S. with the assistance of notable poets of the 20th century such as Vachel Lindsay, Robert Frost and Robert Pinsky. Now in 21st century Grand Rapids, artists share spoken word at open mic nights, ArtPrize, professional performances, community events and more. Rachel Gleason, the Spoken Word Showcase performer and a Grand Rapids-based poet, performer, singer/songwriter, and LGBTQ activist, feels that performance poetry plays a role in unifying community members and artists by “providing a platform for people to share their truth and be heard, and for people to listen and understand someone else’s truth.”
Gleason has been writing and performing spoken word for seven years. For her, combining her favorite art forms and sharing her story while experiencing an immediate, genuine rouse from a live audience encourages her to continue creating and performing.
“My personal mission as an artist is to inspire and empower others by displaying strength through vulnerability, and spoken word is often known for its raw honesty in that regard,” Gleason said. “A well crafted poem takes you on a journey not only through image-driven language and unique metaphors, but through the emotion of performance as well.”
Lend an ear, bring your vulnerability, and be wooed by talented local artists’ vivid imagery and enthralling performance during an evening of spoken word at The Knickerbocker.
Rachel Gleason Spoken Word Showcase featuring Kyd Kane with special guests Michaelyn Mankle, Gabrielle Sorge, and KFG
New Holland Brewery, The Knickerbocker, 417 Bridge Street NW, Grand Rapids
July 31, 8-10 p.m.