Sunday, September 28, 2014

Spoken Word Poetry

Spoken word or a slam is the performance end of poetry. This is when a person uses not just the words, but his facial expressions, the very sound of her voice to reinforce the impact of the words. For the timid, this form of poetry may seem to be a bit overwhelming.

When I initially found out about spoken word, I was a teenager living in Fairmont, WV. I had no idea what it entailed, or what it all meant. I just know it seemed incredibly intriguing. It pulled me in, but I didn't think I could do it. I watched the movie Slam starring Saul Williams

I watched Russel Simmon's Def Poets, which was a show that aired on HBO. Hosted by hip hop artist, Mos Def, it felt so raw and urban. And beautiful. I enjoyed it, but I didn't think I would be able to emulate it.

It was during college that I started actually experimenting and trying out spoken word. I'm still quite intimidated by the stage, but it's made my poetry so much richer. Don't be intimidated by reading your poetry out loud and trying spoken word.

If you would be interested in trying spoken word yourself, then here is a video I found that could help you on your way.

Thanks for reading!

Count Down: 2 Days until OctPoWriMo! Are you ready?!

Tamara Woods was raised (fairly happily) in West Virginia, where she began writing poetry at the age of 12. She shares poetry and short stories on her blog PenPaperPad, is a contributing writer for the online ‘zineLefty Pop and writes articles as a full-time freelance writer. She is editor for an upcoming poetry journal collaboration, and hosts #writestuff TweetChat where writers talk about writing. She is a hillbilly hermit in Honolulu living with her Mathmagician.


  1. I want to try this so badly, but I just don't think I have the right voice for it. :/

  2. I only did spoken word once and I feared I'd pee myself from fright. I'd rather share my written word, as it doesn't make my bladder quite so overactive to do so!
    The gang from Poetry of the Netherworld will be participating in OctPoWriMo again this year, and hopefully not peeing ourselves.

    1. Well, not peeing yourself is pretty important. Can't wait to see what you and the Poetry of the Netherworld group write in October!

  3. I tried spoken word poetry once earlier this year, which was nerve wracking. I was very monotone and stoic compared to others who had moved around and fluctuated their voices and got in touch with the emotions. I would like to get back into spoken word poetry, I just need to practice on the "performance" part.

    1. It sounds like you may need more practice on stage and off-stage until you find your style. Don't worry about what other people are doing. Just do what's comfortable for you. If you don't sound like every one else, it's ok. You don't need to.


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