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Spoken Word Airman performs at the Speakeasy
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Airman 1st Class Kerry Lewis, 3rd Maintenance Operation Squadron, poses with a mic stand here, Dec 14. Lewis performed a spoken word poem at a local establishment for the Anchorage Speakeasy on Dec. 10. Lewis plans to sharpen his gift by continuing to perform in local spoken word events. (U.S. Air Force Photo/ Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia)
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A bard’s tale: Airman takes spoken word to Speakeasy

Posted 12/15/2010   Updated 12/15/2010 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. Joshua Garcia

12/15/2010 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Spoken Word, a verbal art form which started in the late 80's and early 90's, was adopted by college circles to describe a new wave of performing arts which was given birth during the Postmodern Art Movement.

Spoken Word became a catchall phrase to describe anything that didn't fit into established categories of music, theater, and dance, according to

Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson is full of professional and efficient Arctic Warriors, but the base also has talented and creative individuals.

One such person is Airman 1st Class Kerry Lewis, 3rd Maintenance Operation Squadron, 3rd Maintenance Group, 3rd Wing.

Lewis performed Spoken Word for the first time in public as an opening act for Sunni Patterson, an internationally renowned poet and musician at the "Speakeasy," an open art venue hosted in Anchorage Alaska's Wilda Marston Theatre, Dec. 10.

Lewis said he has been into poetry since he was a child.

"It goes back to roses are red, violets a blue ... that was third grade ..." Lewis said, "... when I was 14, that's when I really got into poetry.

I was always good with literature and that developed my like of words and how to create different emotions through words."

The Speakeasy show is Alaska's south central Spoken Word and performance venue.

The event hosted a live band, a disc jockey and even showcased musical talents in rhythm and blues and neo soul on Dec. 10, but the main component of the Speakeasy is the spoken word performer.

"I don't want to say they are interludes because they are far from that..." Lewis said of the other entertainment offered at the Speakeasy, "... but more of a transition from one poet to the next."

Being the first time Lewis performed in front of an audience, he expected to be nervous. As he continued his poem, he transformed from nervous first-timer into a seasoned poet.

"I was nervous at first, so my voice was a little low in the beginning, but a few lines into my poem I heard someone say 'Whoooo' like they liked what I said.

That gave me the confidence I needed and I killed it. And I feel like the audience really appreciated what I did," Lewis said.

Spoken Word is different than literary poetry.

Literary poetry allows one to read a poem out of a book and understand its meaning, whereas Spoken Word relies not solely on the words of the poem but the actions and voice of the poet.

The poets emit emotion the poem displays through their tone of voice and actions they perform while reciting the poem.

"You actually have to act out what you are saying in Spoken Word, there are feelings in other types of poetry but you are not using your hands or facial expressions to express what you are actually saying in depth, it's just words on a page," Lewis said.

Lewis encourages anyone with a talent to pursue it as best they can; to not let it go to waste but cater to it.

When asked if he would perform again, Lewis quickly responded, "Of course, I am going to pursue this locally. And if it takes me further or anything, well that's all God's work. It's in his hands."

Very poetic indeed.

12/16/2010 1:27:54 PM ET
You can get more info on it at I believe they hosted the event. I hear it happens every other month just dont know if its in the same location.
Joshua Garcia, Elmendorf
12/16/2010 12:26:51 PM ET
LEWIS Great job man Pretty cool seeing your picture on the page man.
12/15/2010 5:17:25 PM ET
Where does this spoken word venue occur Im sure A1C Kerry Lewis did a great Job.
Andre Walker, Elemendorf
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