Spoken Word Poetry

Spoken Word Poetry

Humanity has always had a fascination with the spoken word. So much can be expressed with a single utterance and the same word can have numerous meanings to the listener. The way in which words are spoken has become an art form in itself and it is referred to as spoken word poetry.

This art form dates back to ancient times when poets used to write down the words and people, who had great voices and the ability to provoke feeling with words read them aloud from a paper or by heart. This was a great spectacle and a part of theatre performance and the poetry itself sank into the hearts of listeners and stayed there for days on end. Spoken word poetry was an honorable spectacle and the performers were regarded as great speakers.

Poetry has come a long way since then and today it still very much alive both in theatre and in the hearts of poets. There are numerous spoken word poetry competitions and only the best vocalists are chosen to be part of the performance. It is very difficult to provide the exact intonation, to put stress on specific words and to keep up with a certain tempo, so the speakers must live with the piece that they must perform to be completely fluent and persuasive.

The poet also plays a very important role in spoken word poetry, often times it is the poet himself who speaks his words, because only he knows best what intonation to use and when to stress certain words. Even though poetry today is but a fraction for what it once was, a new generation of poets have arrived and they are revolutionizing spoken word poetry.

Today the themes are different and so are the speakers. Spoken word poetry is not practiced by accomplished poets and speakers anymore, more and more young people express their opinions and ideas through poetry. They talk about the hardships of life, the struggles that young people face in society and the overall labels that exist in today’s world. These themes differ from the nature and existential themes of the pioneers of poetry, but as times change so do the words.

To be part of the spoken word poetry world one should come to the numerous poetry nights, which happen all over the world in bars and clubs. Here people come from every walks of life to read their ideas and thoughts to a small crowd of fellow speakers. Each one can sound his thoughts and no one is judged because everyone is entitled to his or her opinion.

It is wonderful to see that people still find meaning in the words spoken by others and that it is still practiced today. Young people would rather express themselves in a cultural and meaningful way rather than a destructive one and this shows a bright future for society. The art of spoken word poetry will shine as it once did, because it is already becoming difficult not to hear the voice of today’s generations.

Spoken Word Poems

Spoken Word Poems

31Spoken word poems are an important part of any education system. These poems are often used to familiarize students with the way various phrases, words and terms can be used in the English language. The rhymes enrich the poem and gives character to it while repetition of words, phrases and stanzas help create an impact upon the student. Spoken word poems are very basic. However, the word play involved in such poetry shows the student how certain words and phrases can be changed or manipulated to mean something other than what they seem to mean.

Memorization is the key to spoken word poetry. When a student is told to memorize spoken word poems his ability to memorize is tested. He is able to hone his skills and remember facts, figures and such like. This would prove to be beneficial because as he grows older he would be able to teach himself to learn facts and figures that are important and to filter out the unimportant facts and figures too.

Expressions, involved in spoken word poems, teach the student what certain words mean. For example, when the word happy comes in such a poem the student is to smile. This helps the student understand what the word means and how to express himself too. The student learns to express his emotions and feelings because of this.

Enunciation is another important of spoken word poems. Students are trained to say or enunciate words the way they are meant to be said or enunciated. A student who is not taught to enunciate wouldn’t be able to pronounce words properly and this would be disadvantageous to the student too. For example, if a person does not know how to pronounce particular words, others might not take him seriously. Communicating with others and self-expression becomes difficult. Where his professional life is concerned he wouldn’t be able to impress his interviewers and communication with his colleagues, family and friends would become difficult. Though he may be capable in many ways but his peers and family won’t take him seriously either and this could affect his confidence in himself as well.

So, these are just some examples of how spoken word poems are able to teach students a lot. Though such poems seem very simplistic and basic but they teach students more than we know. Word play, expression and enunciation are part of what such poems teach the students but what is more important is that these poems also teach a student how to express himself, how to communicate and these would benefit him or her in the long run. Spoken word poems also give students the confidence they need to communicate with one another, with their parents and with their parents as well.

When a student is expected to stand before an audience and to recite spoken word poems he also learns how to deliver to an audience. Hence, spoken word poems are an integral part of the education system. However basic these poems may seem they are very beneficial for students. These help students develop various skills that would benefit them in their professional and personal lives.

Spoken Word Artists

Spoken Word Artists

Spoken word is one of the riches art forms that take advantage of the use of words and other accompaniments. Spoken word is defined as poetry in which the spoken word artist is allowed versatility of using any accompaniment that they see fit.

Most of the presentations in this genre of art are done in solo presentation with additional accompaniment from another specialized artist. This makes the genre of art more interesting and having more impact on the audience. When I am asked to define spoken word, I define it as performance artistic poem that uses words as its basic element.

Story telling is considered the most appealing component of spoken word. If an artist can tell a story through the enticing mincing of words associated with poetry, then the outcome is what most audiences of spoken word look for. Artists like Hedwig Gorski, Gill Scott and Spalding Gray are celebrated spoken word artists because of their ability to intertwine a story with rhymes and beautiful use of words.

The Harlem renaissance and blues music in the 1960s is perceived to be the origin of spoken words. During these periods, the use of word to tell more than stories developed into an art form depicting the postmodern love of words. Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry revolutionized and packaged the art form to match in the competitive space that features stand up comedies.

Spoken word is not rap. It may be confused for rap because the two forms involve the artistic use of words and the involvement of musical accompaniment. Just a poetry is not music but a song can come out of a poem so does the possibility of coming up with a rap from spoken words.

Spoken word has been an instrumental avenue through which people have been able to release their views outside what is called the academic and institutional domains. This is usually a street thing that airs out opinions in a way that is enticing to the ear. It has been used to release emotions, life views, and experiences to audiences.

Spoken word is characterized by frank views on politics, religion, sex, and gender. The art form has focused on taboo subjects in the society. The art form expresses views in a way that presents a different angle to the contemporary and popular opinions.

Spoken word artists are as competitive as any other art forms. The skills of an artists in the art is exhibited to an audience which evaluates the artists based on their skills. It is not a one on one competition like football or other sports by like art, the presenters air their work to audiences and based on their own judgment, the audience appreciates the product offered.

The main competitive setting for spoken word is slam poetry. The national poetry slam was formed in 1990 and held in San Francisco to mark the beginning of real competition. It currently the largest spoken word competition avenue and is held in various cities in the United States. The other popular competition is Sunken Garden Reading and Dodge Festival.