Ep. 126 – Katie Ailes (and the first one from me!)

‘Guess who’s back, back again, Lunar’s back, tell a friend!’ as Eminem famously almost rapped. I’m proud and pleased as proverbial punch to be taking over Lunar. I’ve been listening since 2015, and as I said in the episode, in that time I gravitated to the spaces for critical discussion around poetry to better understand just why and how poetry holds the power it does. Naturally, after a guest appearance and two guest host appearances here, when David mentioned he was looking for a new but experienced voice to help the podcast grow, to reach new communities within the world of poetry and outside, and to continue his work, I knew I could fill his soft-spoken shoes and take this incredible project off his hands. More time for carpentry. Thank you to David for entrusting me with this treasure trove of knowledge, and in advance, thanks to you the listeners for your time.

In this episode I’m speaking with Katie Ailes. She’s a remarkable poet, and academic whose PhD study on performance & authenticity within spoken word expands deep into the regular conversations that swirl across the smoking areas and train platforms after poetry nights country-wide;

how can we better evaluate our art form?
where is the critical framework for spoken word poetry?
(how) can poets maintain their honesty and authenticity?
what separates modern spoken word poetry from other styles of poetry?

To build a framework for what will doubtlessly form the foundation of *credible* spoken word criticism and study, Katie drew from performance art, audience and authenticity studies, and conducted over 70 hours worth of interviews with leading spoken word artists from across the UK. Alongside her research, Katie’s a longtime LPP supporter and friend, so who better to interview at the beginning of my tenure/stewardship/benevolent reign of joy/time in service to you, the Lunar listeners.

The episode is available wherever you get your podcasts, incl Spotify and Soundcloud. The full transcript will be here soon and the next episode will be with Otis Mensah.

Glad to be back with you, let’s GO!

Peter deGraft-Johnson

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