SPOKEN WORD POETRY IN KENYA: AN EMERGING GENRE OF ORAL LITERATURE IN SOCIAL MEDIA SPACES - Beatrice Ekesa
Spoken word poetry is an emerging genre of oral poetry in Kenya. This genre is a demonstration of the transition that has taken place in the field of performance poetry. Spoken word poetry began from the theatrical spaces, moved to print media, and now we are experiencing it in the virtual spaces due to its adaptation to the technological advancement in society today. Social media networks like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, have been instrumental in
popularizing spoken word poetry. This genre started with real theatrical performances in various platforms in Kenya but has since occupied the social media as an alternative space for their performances. These new spaces have seen the rise of many poets in this genre due to the availability of a ready audience, as well as the ease in which poets have when sharing their poems with the virtual audience. The social media saves these poets the financial burden that
comes with publishing a book, or the complexity of getting a media house to air their performances. This paper seeks to draw connections between theatrical performances of the traditional oral poetry and the virtual performances of the contemporary oral poetry, particularly spoken word poetry. The study evaluates ways in which the social media is
transforming the performance of oral poetry by offering an alternative space for the performance of spoken word poetry in Kenya.