"These days," Bob Holman says, "poetry is so owned by the book that many are surprised to learn it predates writing."

To Holman, performance is an integral part of the poem. His lineage includes Dada, Surrealist, and Futurist poets. He has done considerable work in theater, including directing several Poets Theater Festivals at The Poetry Project and La Mama. The Oral Tradition itself which now informs Holman's work, inspired by his recent research into the roots of Hiphop Poetry in Africa.

The clips featured here range from MTV's Def Poetry Jam—still the peak of poetry's reach in popular media; duets with Griots Papa and Salieu Susso; a collaboration with choreographer Melissa Fenley. For a stellar clip of Bob's performance in "Captain John Smith Goes to Ukraine," Yara Arts Group's 2013 production with Holman in the title role, go here.

"Rock & Roll Mythology" on Def Jam Poetry

"Panic*DJ!" with Vito Ricci at Club La Mama, 1990

"Whatever I Was Thinking Of" video by Alex Meillier

"How Kora Was Born" ft. Salieu Suso

With Molissa Fenley & Dancers, Judson Church, September 2009