Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Manifesto of the TWiN Poetry Collective

TWiN is an informal collective of poets & spoken word artists, open to all who enjoy spoken word poetry with music.


TWiN was an acronym, which stood for Third Wednesday in Northfields.
TWiN Poetry's MySpace page ( went online March 17, 2007 as an announcement for monthly poetry events in a place called Northfields. We began using the site to promote the work of other spoken-word artists, and, straightaway, our membership starting growing. By the end of the first week, people regarded us as an informal collective.
Since then, we have grown to nearly 7,000 members. Our membership continues to grow by hundreds each month. We now have a new page, TWiN London. More pages will probably follow. We do not advertise or market our pages. All we have done is to listen to people, and follow their suggestions.
There is no category for poetry on MySpace, so poets and audiences must click or stumble their way to TWiN via other members, through word-of-mouth, or just good luck. The timeliness and necessity of the TWiN collective has led to an audience that discovered itself without a single billboard, banner, or pop-up to point the way.


* We want our membership to receive the mainstream airplay that it deserves. We want broadcasters, telecasters, webmasters, producers, and mainstream media seducers to recognize the abundance of high-quality material currently being ignored. We intend to show them that there is a huge, flourishing audience for this work, a vast untapped demographic craving more than the trivial or pornographic.

* We want the big button-pushers to realize that most of this work shares its heart and intelligence with its audience. The spoken word loves its audience and inspires its audience to love. It shows a way out, a view beyond routine and strife, a love of life.
Spoken-word art does more than merely counteract the anti-social, self-destructive anaesthesia dispensed by commercial music or mainstream media. It encourages people to live fuller lives, become more thoughtful people, better parents, better friends, and better citizens. There are studies to prove this. We want to move this.

* We want to affirm art that takes on significant issues. We want content that looks at pain, loss, and injustice with honesty and integrity. We want work that cries, laughs, curses, contemplates, blows the whistle, whistles in the dark, schemes, dreams, breathes fire, makes its own rules, plays the fool, sparks the dark -- and most of all, gives its audience something to take with them, a gift to light their way home.

* We take pride that, unlike most of the earlier developments on the edges of the music and arts industry, this is truly a global, grass-roots phenomenon -- not a manufactured product. It markets itself. It markets itself because it is what people truly need.

* We want to encourage a global spoken-word dialogue between poets and artists who seek to bypass factions, concentrate on what unites people, and who refuse all the prefab party uniforms that cause so much injustice, apathy, destruction, and self-imprisonment.

* We acknowledge that spoken-word poetry has inherited the responsibility of the protest songs which inspired campaigns for social reform and human rights. At the same time, we assert that it is an art form in process. It's only rule is to become itself. It's the future, and we are all finding a way toward it.

The TWiN Collective, September, 2007

Monday, September 03, 2007

Rules of Reflection (for John Ashbery)

When light is reflected by convex mirrors,

a virtual image is formed


Some of you will have difficulty

understanding how

the image of an

object can be found from a single point.

Saturday, June 30, 2007


Call me Ishmael: my mother was a slave in the house of a patriarch
Hand against her thigh, he swore to her to raise her firstborn
But he lied. He threw my mother out; she made it to Paran
She found a well and didn’t die. She saw God and lived;
I saw demons and thrived.

I grew up wild and reckless in the land of desert nomads,
In the arid lands that lie near the promised land and Egypt,
That land of milk and honey they were saving for my brother
And the land of Pharaoh’s bondage where my mother’s kin were born.
I lived my youth near Canaan and the slaving lands of Egypt,
I lived my life an outcast in the desert of Paran.

I grew up wild and stubborn: my hand against my father
At war with all my kinfolk; my kin at war with me.
I grew up wild and skittish, like a scared colt in a sandstorm
I laughed at mules and camels that never could break free.

But I learned to run in sandstorms, and how to eat my water,
And how to find oases, and how to take the heat.
I learned to talk to demons, to tempters and to genies.
I learned to talk to devils, to outcasts just like me.

I learned to love and pity my younger brother Isaac
When they took him to the slaughter, not even asking why.
God bade me make the manna for Isaac and his children.
My demons said they’d be here, twelve tribes of them someday.
In this land of desert nomads near the promised land and Egypt
Near the land of milk and honey in the desert of Paran.

Monday, May 14, 2007


I want to know
what makes you

I want to know
what makes you
fickle; I want to know
what makes you stick.

Tell me

which ion propels you
which soothsayer spells you
which folksinger trills you
which hardwood distills you
which downward dog twists you
which protest resists you
which neural net fires you
which siren desires you

which villennelle sings you
which jailbreaker springs you
which Uncle Sam wants you
which calculus daunts you
which lullaby lulls you
which confidence gulls you
which apple you’ll bite from
which hither you’ll welcome


take cover when you come
cut loose the sails and run
forget the right answers
consult necromancers
allow the forbidden
ignore the guilt ridden
unlearn all the learning
embrace this new burning

to know
makes you

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Spring Vow

We will love like dogwood.
Kiss like cranes.
Die like moths.
I promise.

About Poetry 2007 Spring Anthology

Friday, March 16, 2007

Aleksandr Blok --tr. L Shmailo

Night, avenue, street lamp, the drug store,
Irrational and dusky light.
Live another two, three decades
It stays the same; there's no way out.
You'll die, then start again, beginning
And everything unfolds as old:
Night, the canal's icy ripple,
The drug store, avenue, and lamp.

Blog Archive