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The Poetry Lounge (2004)

DVD | Color
30 min | Full Screen.

ISBN 1-930545-99-1
Price:  $19.95* Home Video includes Public Library Circulation rights.
ISBN 1-930545-99-1
Price:  $19.95**  Academic and Institutional price including Public Performance rights for non-paying audiences.
Consumers Reviews

Critics Reviews
"In 1984, a construction worker launched a poetry reading at a Chicago jazz club, breathing working-class life into the heretofore often rarified flavor of “open-mic” verse. Not long after, the “Poetry Slam” concept, in which people explore free self-expression through the medium of poetry and are judged both by a combination of panel judges and audience response, was born and spread across the nation, with regular events being held in nearly every state. Building on the Poetry Slam movement, the “Poetry Lounge” is one of the largest weekly “slams” in the country and formed the basis for the 2003 Tony award-winning show Def Poetry Jam. A taping of a live slam featuring the 2004 National Slam Champions performing their works and sharing thoughts about their pieces, The Poetry Lounge, hosted by award winning Def Poets Shihan and Poetri, serves up a blistering array of percussive, fast-paced, and emotionally-charged poetry that bears little resemblance to the stately odes and sonnets by Shakespeare, Keats, Wordsworth, and others. But the soul of poetry is evident here, which is why this title-filled with terrific performances by some of the country's best talent-is excellent for introducing verse to teens and young adults. DVD extras include extended interviews, historical notes, and a classroom lesson plan. Highly"

-Video Librarian

"This video features four live spoken word performances and subsequent interviews with the poets themselves.

All the poems revolve around the twin themes of the diversity and interrelatedness of all human beings. “Four Little Girls” by Thea Monyee speaks to young girls of all races, shapes and sizes who try to fit themselves to stereotyped media images of femininity. “Black and White” by IN-Q and Omari Wise-O Hardwick is a collaborative effort about racism and the necessity to walk in the other man's shoes. “Unified Love” by Brutha Gimel speaks of understanding yourself through the images others have of you. And finally, “You Move me” by Gina Loring shows how all the things that reach your heart define who you are and connect you to the rest of the world.

Shihan Van Clief, Los Angeles based co-founder of Da Poetry Lounge, discusses the origins of spoken word performance. Many of the artists who are interviewed in the film began their careers in hip-hop and rap. They speak eloquently of the healing power of this form of self-expression and offer encouragement to aspiring young poets. This film is recommended for high school and college literature collections and for diversity programs at all institutions. "

-Educational Media Reviews Online

"The Poetry Lounge is an open forum for self expression. Viewers will be struck by the passion of the 2004 National Slam Champions featured in this film, taken from a recent Poetry Lounge event. Each poet introduces his or her work, proving insights into the inspiration for it, and then performs it. Each performance is breathtaking in its insights and heartfelt and fervent delivery; the connection to the live audience is obvious. Following the reading, each poet talks about objectives and the writing process. The subjects addressed include the media images bombarding girls and the resulting damage to self-image, racism as viewed from perspectives of both blacks and whites, and the impact of being moved by another person. Students will enjoy the performances and the program would be an ideal starting point to inspire them to write their own poetry. The spoken word poetry movement is discussed, and award-winning Def Poets Shihan and Poetri discuss the process of writing, explaining that anyone can do this as long as they are true to their own feelings and convictions. Added features include additional interviews with the poets and links to a Web-based lesson plan and guidebook ( A moving and inspiring title for public and school libraries."

-Melody Moxley, Rowan Public Library, Salisbury, NC, School Library Journal

Summary The Poetry Lounge is a free, multicultural open-forum for self-expression, inspiring young people to find their own voice and let it be heard. Hosted by award-winning Def Poets Shihan and Poetri, the "Lounge" has become the largest weekly open mic forum in the country, and was one of the inspirations for Russell Simmons' 2003 Tony-winning show, Def Poetry Jam. Taken from a recent Poetry Lounge event, this program features 2004 National Slam Champions, performing their work and sharing their inspiration. Learn the fundamentals of writing and performing "spoken word" poetry from some of the most accomplished poets of the movement.

*One of the inspirations for Russell Simmons' Def Poetry Jam
*Poets have been featured on HBO's Def Comedy Jam, NBC's Living Large, BET's Lyric Cafe
*Content Correlated to National Standards

Special Features
Extended Interviews with Poets
Lesson Plan
Poetry Lounge History