Friday, September 22, 2023

Tobia poetry and jazz is about to head to South Africa

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Interview with Misrak Terefe. Tobia poetry and jazz are about to head to South Africa. Jazz poetry has been defined as poetry that “demonstrates jazz-like rhythm or the feel of improvisation” and also as poetry that takes jazz music, musicians, or the jazz milieu as its subject. Some critics consider it a distinct genre though others consider the term to be merely descriptive. Jazz poetry has long been something of an “outsider” art form that exists somewhere outside the mainstream, having been conceived in the 1920s by African Americans, maintained in the 1950s by counterculture poets like those of the Beat generation, and adapted in modern times into hip-hop music and live poetry events known as poetry slams. In his book, Digitopia Blues – Race, Technology and the American Voice, poet and saxophonist John Sobol argues that jazz was a transformative vehicle for African-American self-empowerment whose dominant characteristic and purpose was a search for mastery of a language of power, undertaken by a historically enslaved oral people denied access to words of power. Sobol believes that poets who have felt constrained by the hegemony of the literate tradition have grasped an essential kinship with jazz as a realm of masterful oral power and have sought to mimic or recreate jazz modalities in their poetry, thus earning the description ‘jazz poetry.

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