Spoken Word in Jordan

Compelling interview about the spoken word artform in Jordan following a recent slam poetry event. A friend and fellow Fulbrighter wrote a story for the ‘Daily Beast’ about the primarily female underground slam poetry scene in Jordan in the context of the Arab Spring.

Aysha, born and raised in Jordan and educated in America, holds two national  collegiate titles in slam poetry. She is at the helm of Amman’s spoken word scene, working with young poets and organizing events that draw crowds of up to 200 people. In Jordan, this small group of women who regularly perform poems falls outside the norm.

“There is an idea in this society that a woman is someone that you have to shelter,” Aysha says. “People aren’t used to seeing a woman get on stage and talk. It’s shocking.”

A hallmark of spoken word poetry is its unfiltered honesty, which can be difficult in a place like Jordan, where public and private space is very distinct.