Poet Outspoken Bean is among the featured performers at this year's Word Around Town (W.A.T.) Poetry Tour 2013. As an invited featured artist, Bean was able to bypass the tour's rigorous draft process. "There were more than 150 poets at the draft this year," Bean tells us. "It was ridiculous; it was a fire hazard." Nine poets were eventually selected to participate in the daily readings. "I was really glad that I wasn't in the draft and that my spot as a featured poet was secure," Bean laughs. "It was crazy competition."
While all the participating poets are performance poets, there are some differences in style and subject matter. "The difference is in the individual," Bean says. "No two poets perform exactly alike, and while there may be some onstage similarities among performers, those are superficial. Experienced poets don't sound like anyone else but themselves. There are some people who are very energetic -- I'm in that group," he laughs. "Others are more reserved, some are funny, others more hard-hitting."
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Bean's set to read several new works, as well as past audience favorites and group poems with the VIP Slam Team. Also on his set-list are poems dedicated to his students and to shooting victim Trayvon Martin (written after Bean saw a joke made about the dead youth).
Bean says his life as a poet is a bid unpredictable, but there's nothing he'd rather do. "I'm a great believer in ownership of what you say and do, so my poems are one way I can say, 'This is what I stand for. This is what I believe in.' I hear a lot of naysayers. There's no blueprint on how to be a poet or how to be an actor. It happens in different ways for every person. It's kinda of scary and it only makes sense if you love it. If I don't perform, I don't eat. It's as constant as I am. It's great when I have a large contract but when I don't, it's hard. If I'm not performing, I'm not eating and that's a reality that scares me. If you don't love it, you're crazy for not getting a job. You need to love it and I l-o-v-e this."
The tour starts at 8 p.m. on Sunday at Bohemeo's, 708 Telephone Road. Performances continue at various locations through August 10. For information, call 832-894-1558 or visit the event's website. Free.