Spoken Word Poetry: How To Write A Spoken Word Poem

spoken word poetryTelling a story with words is fun, but being able to tell a story with a poem is even more challenging, imaginative, and entertaining for an audience.  Spoken word poetry is a form of poetry where the author will present their poem to an audience, or out load, using narration.  When you hear spoken poetry being performed, you will notice that there are many differences when compared to other types of poetry.  As more of an oral language is being used, expressions and emotions are portrayed differently.

If you want to convey your opinions and thoughts through a performance, let’s take a look at some famous spoken word poems, as well as how you can write a spoken word poem yourself.

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How to Write a Spoken Word Poem

Step 1:  Select a topic for your poem.  As with anything that you write, make sure that you have a strong and expressive opinion about the topic that you choose.  Remember that you are going to have to incorporate a good deal of passion and feeling into reading a spoken word poem.

Step 2:  Once you have chosen your topic, take some time to think about the subject that you have selected.  Get out a piece of scratch paper and write down the initial words that come to mind when you think about your topic.  When you are finished, look through your words and choose the one that you feel best explains your topic of interest.

Step 3:  Go ahead and start writing your poem.  Spoken word poetry is very free flowing, and you can use any and all different types of punctuation to get your point across.  For instance, you can incorporate commas, brackets, or dashes into your poem.  Your audience will not see your poem –they will hear it.  For this reason, there are no rules regarding the number of beats in spoken word poetry.

Step 4:  When you are finished with your poem, it is important to edit.  Proofread it yourself or ask any friends or family to edit your poem for you.  Remember that the length of your poem is up to you, but spoken word poems tend to be longer than other types of poetry.  Take into consideration what others have to say about your poem, but keep in mind that you always have the final say in your writing.

Step 5:  There are plenty of other spoken word poets that you can easily watch online.  Observe how they perform their poems and what they use to grab the attention of their audience.  Pay attention to the gestures their hand movements and gestures while performing.  You can decide to pick and choose from other poets what will work best when it comes to your performance.

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Step 6:  Since the point of spoken word poetry is to perform your poem, the final step of writing a spoken word poem is performing it.  When you perform your poem, it is important to do so in your own individual manner and style.  You can mind your own performance style by practicing different wants that you feel comfortable expressing yourself.  Before you perform in front of anyone, or a live audience, remember to rehearse your poem several times until you begin to feel more comfortable doing so.

5 Tips for Writing Spoken Word Poetry

Tip 1: Use Concrete Language

Spoken word poetry should incorporate certain words and phrases that can create vivid images, sounds, actions, and other feelings and sensations in your readers.  If you spoken poetry is strong and rich with imagery, your audience will be able to feel, smell, and taste along with your poem.  A good spoken word poetry is just like reading a good book.

Tip 2:  Use Repetition

In any type of poetry, repetition is a simple, yet powerful poetic device.  The repetition of a phrase or imagine will help to extend that particular thought or image beyond its original meaning.  This can help the writer get a point across or exaggerate a point that they want to make.

Tip 3:  Incorporate Rhyme

The use of rhyming in your poem can add to your performance and make it more entertaining and fun to follow for your audience.  Use elements of surprise and moderation when incorporating rhyme into your spoken word poetry.

Tip 4:  Attitude

Every poet’s poem will be unique, and they will also have their own unique perspective of the subject or topic that they choose to write and speak about.  It is essential that a spoken word poem is able to capture the feelings that the poet has and covey them to their audience and the rest of the world.  Be sure that your poem incorporates a certain attitude or feeling to your audience.

Tip 5:  Persona

As a poet or write, you can portray anyone and any feelings that you want to in your poetry.  For example, you choose to write your poem in the voice of someone else, or take on the opinion of another person that might be different from your own.  Be creative and have fun with the subject you choose.

Tips For Performing Spoken Word Poetry

  • spokenwordpoetryPosture:  Be sure to stand up straight with your shoulders back, chin up, and head high.  Look confident and assertive.
  • Eye Contact:  Make eye contact with your audience, and do not star at the floor, your paper, or in one particular spot the entire time.
  • Project:  Speak loudly and clearly enough to ensure that your entire audience can hear your voice.
  • Enunciate:  Do not mumble.
  • Facial Expressions:  Use facial expressions when you are performing spoken word poetry.  This will help your audience get an idea of a point you want to get at or your emotions that are involved with your words.

Popular Spoken Word Poems

  1. Buddy Wakefield — “Convenience Stores”
  2. Kate Tempest — “Line in the Sand”
  3. LKJ — “Inglan Is a Bitch”
  4. Dizraeli — “Maria”
  5. TJ Dema — “Neon Poem”
  6. Toby T — “Tomorrow”
  7. Andrea Gibson and Katie Wirsing
  8. Shane Koyczan – “To This Day”

Speak Your Mind

Spoken word poetry can be used to give a person a voice that they can use to express their ideas, emotions, and beliefs on a wide variety of things.  Poetry is real, so take the above steps and let your authenticity shine.  For tips on learning, memorizing, and performing poetry, enroll in this memorization course taught by a professional language learning author and film studies professor.