My answer is this.
If a spoken word artist cannot show you their piece on paper…if that piece is not on paper without grammatical and spelling errors so drastic that you cannot easily read the piece. This person is not a poet. If a spoken word artist freestyles more than they spill ink…then I am more apt to label him/her a rapper/entertainer than a poet. If a Spoken Word artist has never even considered publishing a chapbook, I question why?
A poet writes. A poet cries tears of blood. They dream in stanzas, and wake in the wee hours of the night…unable to fall back to sleep because poetry refuses to allow it. A new poem, that new born child lying next to the Poet in the bed… whimpering and whining, screaming and crying until the Creator agrees to finish…and the Poem and Poet can sleep. This Poet? This Poet is the Poet that gets on stage and leaves sweat in pools on stage. This Poet leave tears on the cord of the mic. This is the one who steps off stage and can barely speak because everything just short of life was left on that stage in the name of Poetry. This one… is a Poet… not an entertainer.