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 (www.myspace.com./TWiNpoetry) 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
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