The Speak-Spake-Spoke Band (left to right):
Amanda Monaco, guitar & musical director; Warren Smith, drums; Arthur Kell, bass;
Kirpal Gordon, spoken word;  Frank Perowsky, clarinet; Carlton Holmes, piano; Claire Daly, baritone saxophone

A member of Poets & Writers, Inc. and Convergence Arts, a non-profit 501(3) (C) dedicated to arts performance and education, I enjoy performing spoken word texts both solo and accompanied by musicians, dancers, visual artists and actors. 


For my work with Walt Whitman and jazz, click:

Here are a few testimonials for my work with the Speak-Spake-Spoke Band:

Having graced our stage many times with his spoken word collaborations, we call Kirpal Gordon our poet laureate at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.            

—Todd Barkin, proprietor, Dizzy’s, Jazz at Lincoln Center

The only lyricist I know who can recite free verse so that the bridge of the tune has relevance to his recitation, Kirpal Gordon differs from most jazz poetry in two unique and wonderful ways: his ear is tuned to the jazz vocal tradition and his musicians interpret a repertoire that incorporates bop, swing, pop and classical standards with a musical freshness that corresponds to the vigor of his language.                   

—Vernon Frazer, Soundzine 

If you think the notion of mixing jazz and poetry is hopelessly old-fashioned, let his swinging scansion and vivid imagery relieve you of that perception. Gordon swings.      

—Steve Smith, Time Out New York

Lotsa people go at it, but it’s Kirpal G who IS it—the Real Deal, the Chilly Willy, the Absolute Rootin’ Tootin’est Poet Qua Non—like the rain out of the blue. When my life is through and the angels ask me to recall the thrill of them all, I will tell them I remember Kirpal!      

—Bob Holman, proprietor, Bowery Poetry Club 

His work swings with around-the-corner wit, but also with real gravitas, with a ludicrous tragic craziness that’s at once wild and frighteningly familiar. He chooses tunes that are sweet and heartfelt but also elegant and formally graceful—his voice levitating rich and smooth and right on the rhythm. I’ve never heard the marriage of music and the spoken word done with greater harmony.     

—Bill Seaton, director, Poetry on the Loose

A poet with unstoppable chops, Kirpal Gordon is a spewer of jewels with the baddest ear in the hemisphere and an unbelievably well-hung mother tongue…. His voice is wed to the energy of a singly hearted ensemble.                                                             

—Mikhail Horowitz, The Blues of the Birth

Hearing Gordon’s poetry with his jazz band at Sweet Rhythm is like seeing Salvador Dali’s paintings: he’s a shape shifter of the first order.                                    

—Lara Pellegrinelli, National Public Radio

Precise of word and rhyme and ready of wit, his pairing poems with pearls of jazz and his erudition in world lit (licks from Eliot, Yeats and the Upanishads flit by like Dexter Gordon’s quotes) add further dimensions to his verbal inventions; at poetic peak he’s internally rhyming, eternally scheming, keeping this hot band dancing on the point of Cleopatra’s needle.                        

—Fred Boucher, All About Jazz 
Photo by Maria Elizabeth