Full Title: “L.A. Is Lit: The Best Spoken-Word, Readings and Poetry in Town (via L.A. Weekly)
Spoken word is more popular than ever these days, with a seemingly endless array of live performances that pop up in a wide variety of formats and settings in the Los Angeles area. But what used to be a mainly underground pursuit — in which obsessive wordsmiths parsed and divined the arcane properties, hidden meanings and cryptic allusions buried in each loaded syllable of oblique poetry before a small crowd of like-minded true believers — has long since turned into a fairly mainstream spectator sport.
We don’t use the word “sport” lightly, as popular events such as the Moth and other poetry slams are more competitions in which storytellers compete for prizes and attention and are, more often than not, judged and ranked for their comedic abilities and personal charisma rather than their actual literary depth.
For those who crave to hear more artistically ambitious poetry and short fiction performed live, there are nonetheless a dizzying variety of places where subtle wordplay is appreciated, although one sometimes has to search carefully to discern the more adventurous and experimental spoken-word artisans amid the overriding clamor of actor types and comedians manqué shouting over one another in telling their personal anecdotes at generic storytelling events.