Emergence - See!

This article is from 2007

Powerful political poetry

It’s hard to know which is more inspiring about Daniel Beaty – his own story, or the one he tells. The young African American poet and performer was plucked from impoverished obscurity in the third grade of primary school, where his essay about following one’s dreams, entitled ‘Promise Yourself’ was read out to his school, and had such an inspiring effect that it wound up being performed at the local chapter of the NAACP. From here Beaty became a child poet who toured the country with his verse, often inspired by the writings of Martin Luther King.

This new piece amounts to his masterwork as a young adult. Taking as its starting point the image of a slave ship appearing in the waters of contemporary New York, it goes on to capture the voices of 43 different African American voices from contemporary and past USA. The impact of this show on audiences in the States has become legendary over the last few months. If the simple craft of the spoken word has a future, Beaty is likely to be one of its standard bearers for years to come. (Steve Cramer)

Assembly@St George’s West, 5–27 Aug (not 13, 20), 6.45pm, £11–£12 (£10–£11). Previews 3 & 4 Aug, £5.