Imagine a career where instead of sitting on your desk answering e-mails from nine to five, you do exactly what you like and get paid for it. Wasn’t there a time when poetry didn’t come with a revenue model? That’s gone. Welcome to the world of spoken word poetry—an art form that is quickly growing into a profession for many a young mind bursting with ideas and a willingness to express them. Spoken word poetry, also known as slam poetry, is nothing like conventional poetry writing. While conventional poetry targets an audience that reads poetry, spoken word poetry is designed to connect with the audience through a performance at a more personal level.
Shamir Ruben, a 24-year-old from Mumbai, started working full time as a poet and performer two years ago. His first performance was at a workshop while he was still finishing his masters in communications in Pune. Shamir read out ‘Dear Mom’, a poem he had written after his mother succumbed to cancer in 2012. The next time he performed the poem, it was in front of an audience, without a paper clutched in his hands.