Photo of Angela

Cerebral Cypher

Interview: Spoken Word at Muskingum University, Ohio

Apr 24, 2011

The interview is available online here at the Black & Magenta news website or read full text below.


Kelsey Apperson


Poet Angela Kariotis committed to spoken word poetry

Kelsey Apperson

Opinion Editor


Spoken word poetry is a particular concentration of poetry in which the writer composes poems with the intent of broadcasting them to an audience.

Director of the Creative Writing Program at Carnegie Mellon University, Dr. Yona Harvey, has a distinct vision of spoken word’s role in the poetry world.

“Spoken word emphasizes the delivery or performance of a poem,” said Harvey. “Most of us first encountered poetry through spoken word: parents or teachers reading nursery rhymes or Shel Silverstein verses aloud; overhearing older sibling, older cousin banter in the house and on the street.  When spoken word is performed well, it excites its audience.”

Spoken word poet Angela Kariotis works to excite audiences far and wide with her spoken word performances.

“As a theater artist, I am a minimalist,” said Kariotis. “I use my body, my voice, my face, to tell the story. Spoken word poetry is a most-perfect platform for me. It’s what I’ve always done. It is insurgent testimony. It’s [a] fun, entertaining, dynamic experience to create work in this way.”

Harvey feels that spoken word poetry is not limited to poetry that is performed, rather any form of poetry that is vocalized.

“Honestly, I think any poem read aloud is a spoken word poem,” said Harvey.  “It's just that some poems are recited in a very boring way, which makes them feel "regular" or forgettable.  I think a well-delivered spoken word poem is popular because it's entertaining and exciting for people who are new to poetry, especially for young adults.” 
Kariotis, however, has taken her own approach to understanding and creating spoken word poetry.

“I write from page to stage,” said Kariotis. “I am a poet but I do not write poems, I write theater.  I believe good theater is poetry. There should be more poetry on our stages. I think the spoken word movement has helped move that along.”

Kariotis makes many attempts to share her passion for spoken word poetry and performance through a variety of ways, including performing, making herself available, and educating.

“As a traveling artist, I’ve [I] made the commitment a long time ago to work with and from within the community,” said Kariotis.

She has accomplished this through workshops, question and answer sessions, and even the teaching of creative writing classes in schools.

“I’m committed to excellence and the developing [of] this craft,” said Kariotis. “It’s an important medium that’s gained critical and popular traction.”

Kariotis encourages all to get involved in the craft of spoken word poetry, whether as the entity on the stage or a spectator taking in the art form.

She directs interested individuals to her website ( where videos are posted of past performances, information regarding her involvement in spoken word and giving back to the community, and a variety of other links and information to explore.