Saturday, June 17, 2000

Zoa Smith

ZOA SMITH (September 19, 1997 AND June 17, 2000)

Zoa Smith is best known for her experimentations in word and sound. Her talent for compiling macabre details of city living is calculated to startle, amuse and shock. Drawing on the conventions of storytelling, performance poetry and dark humor, Zoa's unusual show holds her audiences twitchlessly transfixed. Zoa Smith was a featured author early on, when the Writer's Series was held in Yachats. She had the town chirping about her spoken word and musical accompaniment for days afterward as people gathered at the town's post office to express their delight and fascination with such a startling personality.

Zoa was awarded the 1994 Lilla Jewel Award for Oregon Women Artists by The McKenzie River Foundation for her multi-arts achievements and for the creation of a spoken word form called "Talkapella" which merges storytelling, lyrical poetry and sound performance. Talkapella literally means "talking musically" words are chosen because of how they sound and are arranged with attention to spoken rhythm. Zoa's stylized delivery is riddled with alliteration, puns, irony and humor. She creates her own "impure" poetic diction, combining scientific terminology with street slang, wordplay, strong rhythmic patterns, and post-modern philosophy. Her mesmerizing style, mind-bending content and innovative sound/music creations have earned her the reputation of a performance icon in the local arts community.

Zoa says "For twenty years I've been trying to write the perfect poem. Wouldn't it be cool to change the world as we know it, alter history or put a ripple in the cosmic consciousness through a single poem? My goal is to achieve this in time for the Writers' Series show. Newport would have to change her name to Newportico."

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