Exclusive: Get To Know Spoken Word Poets Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye Before Their Shows In Singapore!

Here's something to get you warmed up - for all the laughter and tears, smiles and sighs, that are to follow.

By Kanksha Chawla

July 11 2019

Together, Sarah and Phil are undefeatable on stage. 

I happened to discover spoken word poetry online. Sarah and Phil were the first spoken word poets I watched - mesmerized. Their rhythm, gestures, sighs, and even the pauses floating in the air are so magical.

Join these two world-renowned performers for a special evening of original live poetry, featuring both new work and old favourites. The two have collectively garnered over twenty million views online and performed live in thirty countries on stages from TED Talks to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).

Here's a little interview we put together to help you get up-close-and-personal with your favourite poets before you go for their shows tonight and tomorrow. 

It’s so wonderful to have you back in Singapore! (they last visited in 2015) What are you looking forward to this time?

So much! The new audiences, the old friends we’ve made over the years, the chilli crab! Singapore was one of our earliest international shows together, and it holds a very special place in our hearts.

This is for Phil: If you could give Aurora (his sister) one phrase from any of your poems, what would it be?

Hah! She’s probably had enough of my poetry, but I might pass along Sarah’s line from The Type that I’ve always loved: “You have always been the place”. 

Sarah, you mentioned in an interview with The Eye, that for you, writing is a form of problem-solving and celebrating things. How do you address students who prefer to problem solve through means that do not include writing or performing?

I'm not interested in changing the way someone naturally problem solves! I am interested in giving them even more tools that they can use, and introducing them to a new set of skills they can also try out. The world delivers lots of puzzles to solve, and different puzzles require different tools. A lot of folks just haven't yet had the opportunity to learn that poetry is another tool available to them. 

What are your thoughts on performing the same, well-loved pieces repeatedly for different audiences?

A spoken word poem on the page is only partially complete -- it requires a live audience for it to live and breathe, and that makes it feel different each and every time, depending on the room. So for us, there’s a real excitement and newness that comes with each new room, even if the poem is an old favourite. 

You're always on tours, travelling and working. How does this hustle impact the connections you build with your listeners or students at every location?

In our dream world, we’d love to stay in each location much longer than we get to in reality. But, as we’ve been doing this longer and longer, we’ve been incredibly lucky to get to build those connections over the years. There are cities we get to go to almost every year and build relationships in places that feel almost like second homes

Have your perceptions of ‘poetry’ and ‘the spoken word’ changed with time?

Our perceptions of the art form keep stretching. There are so many poets that we admire and look up to, who keep redefining what is possible. More than anything, the longer we do it, the more we have to learn. 

What are your plans after the tour? What new works can your look fans look forward to?

After a long stretch of touring, we finally get a short break in New York City. And Phil’s got a brand new book of poetry coming out in September titled Date & Time, keep an eye out! 

[Image Source: https://onmogul.com/stories/dear-purple-eyes-a-poem-on-abusive-relationship-after-sarah-kay-the-type]