I'm proud to be the editor of Canada's first spoken word anthology, Mic Check (http://tinyurl.com/ylog5co
) and it's taught me a lot about what works on the page and what doesn't. Yes, I think performance poetry can make it in print if the verse is well-written, captivating and gives us more than just a bunch of one-liners. In fact, I think great slam poetry on the stage must be well written too, and not just be a blustery performance but that's another matter.
My experience with Mic Check has taught me two things: many book readers look at spoken word sceptically when it's in print form, as in "isn't that supposed to be performed?" There's some education that has to be done, but that's part of the process of bringing spoken word to the page.
I also learned how some poems take on a new shape when they are read. You can take your time with a few lines, really chew on a few well-placed metaphors, instead of being beholden to the performer orating the poem. That's not to say one is "better" than the other, it's just that the reading experience adds a unique nuance to spoken word. It's something that I really want kids to start enjoying, especially since a spoken word anthology validates the art form in the eyes of many old-school teachers.