Today's highlighted Madison-based and music-related group is The Last Minute Poets.
Emphasizing their loud, angry and beautiful aspects, four individuals -- Eric Mata, Tracie Gilbert, Josh Healy, and Kyle "El Guante" Myhre -- together comprise The Last Minute Poets. This spoken-word poetry collective coalesced early in the summer of 2006, and has since focused on inspiring activism and rocking the stages they share ever since.
Here is how the group describes itself:
We're a collective of spoken-word poets who also engage in social justice work, education, activism and food. Between the four of us, we know pretty much everything and can do pretty much anything. Eric and Guante were on the 2006 National Poetry Slam team from Madison. All four of us are involved with YouthSpeaks Wisconsin, working with high school students on their poetry, organizing slams and open mics and more.
Each member of the collective is also busy with a variety of other music and poetry-related projects. Gilbert and Healy are co-hosts on The Cipher Zone (MySpace page), a Saturday night show on WORT 89.9 FM that is self-described as "the third show in the emerging radio format of Spoken Word Conscious Movement." It broadcasts underground hip-hop, soul, and of course, spoken word.
Myhre, meanwhile, is a prolific emcee, writer (including for Isthmus), and poet, reigning as the 2006 grand poetry slam champion for Madison. He described the Poets' goal shortly after they formed: "We've played a few gigs and are looking to do a lot more this year, particularly out of town. Being that all four of us work on or have worked on a bunch of different social justice issues, I'm hoping we can gig as activists and artists, doing workshops and all that."
The Poets provide four performances by collective members on their MySpace page. "Fallen" and "Grayscale" are spoken by Mata, while "Career Day" and "Hero Poem" are by Myhre.
Collective members take the stage regularly at slams both in and out of Madison. Next up on their schedule is the Urban Spoken Word Poetry Slam, held the third Saturday of every month at Genna's Lounge on the Capitol Square. In December 2006, the slam featured a haiku battle. A round-robin series and subsequent face-offs resulted in a final match between Mata and Myhre, with the former claiming victory in one last seventeen-word campaign. Video clips of the match are available here on Dane101.
Besides marking the beginning of the two-year countdown until the next Inauguration Day, Saturday, Jan. 20 is also the date for the first slam of 2007 at Genna's. Featuring Roger Bonair-Agard of Brooklyn, New York, the slam is also likely to be the first chance of the year to see these last minute poets in action. Later that evening and a quarter-turn around the Square, spoken word will flow into hip-hop, as The Grey Scare (featuring El Guante, MC Starr and DJ Pain 1) takes the stage at the King Club with The Last Hope and Lucha Libre.
More information about poetry in Madison can be found at madpoetry.org.
This is the latest featured entry from the Madison Music Project, an online database of Madison-area musicians. Please register or update your current profile on the project for consideration in these highlights.