How To Perform Spoken Word Poetry

History and different forms of Spoken Word Poetry

A spoken word poem is one of the oldest forms of oral communication and performance. The practice of telling stories through speaking in poetic language or reciting verses has a long history dating back to ancient civilizations. Oral storytelling has been used in diverse cultures across the world to commemorate events, pass on traditions, pay tribute to loved ones, and to share narratives. Spoken word art is a very wide field that could include anything from spoken word poetry to rap lyrics, radio plays, monologues, and stand-up comedy.

The purpose of Spoken Word Poetry

Spoken word poetry is primarily used to give expression to the poet’s emotions in a creative and unique way. The poem or recitation is composed in such a way that the words create an emotionally charged story or narrative. The intention of the spoken word poem is to make a connection with the audience and evoke an emotional response. It is an art form that attempts to provoke a reaction, appeal to the senses, and make the audience feel something.

How to write Spoken Word Poetry

In order to create a powerful and effective spoken word poem, one must rely on their own unique writing style. Although there is no right or wrong way to write a spoken word poem, there are a few tips that can help to create a successful piece.
Firstly, it is important to get into a creative mindset and establish a purpose for your poem. Developing a strong theme and identifying an overarching message will help to craft an effective poem. Writing down ideas and getting into the flow of the story is a great way to capture the emotion of the poem and help visualize a narrative.
It is beneficial to become familiar with the rhythm of spoken word poetry. Using the natural flow of language to create a steady and consistent rhythm throughout the poem will help to structure the story and craft a compelling piece. Alliteration, assonance, and repetition of words or phrases can intensify the meaning of the poem and make it more impactful.

Perform Spoken Word Poetry with Confidence

An essential component of spoken word poetry is the performance of the poem. This requires you to present the poem in a confident and powerful manner, as the audience’s reception to the piece largely depends on the delivery of the poem.
One strategy to help with the performance of the poem is to practice the piece. Ensure that you are comfortable with the words, the rhythm of the poem, and how the different elements work together. Memorize the poem and focus on projecting the emotion of the poem.

Adding other elements to Spoken Word Poetry

Spoken word poetry does not have to be a simple recitation of words. Other components can be added to the poem to enhance its impact.
The inclusion of music adds another dimension to the performance. This can be done in a few ways, such as adding specific backings to the poem, singing, or performing the poem acapella.
Incorporate the use of voice modulation. Creating a contrast between different tones increases the emotion and intensity of the spoken word performance. Moving through different pitches and adding volume and intensity to different lines helps to draw the audience in and increase the impact of the poem.

Body Language and Physical Expressions

It is important to consider your body language when performing spoken word poetry. Ensuring that your movements are consistent with the words and use your body to move the audience’s focus to different parts of the poem helps to emphasize the message. The use of subtle yet powerful physical expressions can also be used to create a vivid visual representation of the poem to help the audience connect with the narrative.

Engaging the Audience

Creating an engaging and captivating spoken word poem is about creating an atmosphere that people want to take part in. Establishing a connection with the audience is essential to ensure that your poem resonates with them.
It is important to maintain eye contact and use gesture and facial expressions to convey the emotion of the poem. One strategy to help engage with the audience is to address them directly and engage with them between lines. This helps to create a deeper resonance in the audience and reminds them why they are listening to your poem.

Use of Visual Aids and Props

Using visual aids and props when performing spoken word poetry is an effective way to help the audience connect with your poem. Visual aids help to create an immersive atmosphere and bring your poem to life. They help to convey the emotion of the poem and the message you are trying to convey.
Think of props that you can use that are symbolic of the poem and bring out the emotion in your performance. For example, a single rose or a white feather could be used to symbolize love or peace. Adding visual effects to your poem adds extra depth and helps create a captivating atmosphere for the audience.

Outreach and Community Impact

Although spoken word poetry is often performed in controlled performance spaces, it can also be a powerful way to engage with the community. Reaching out and performing in public spaces is an effective way to build an audience and connect with people on an individual level.
Performing at community events such as spoken word or rap battles, or regular open mic events, can help to build an audience and spread your message. Collaborating with other local artists is an effective way to amplify the impact of the poem.

Creating Video Content

The internet has become an incredibly powerful platform for spoken word poets to share their work. Creating video content and sharing it on various online platforms can help to expand their reach and connect with a wider audience.
Creating a visually appealing video that effectively conveys the message of the poem is essential. Utilizing technology like filtering, color-grading, and lighting enhances the emotion of the poem and captures the attention of the viewer. Additionally, ensuring that the audio is of high quality and crystal clear helps to ensure the message comes through.

Promote your Spoken Word Poetry

Once a poem has been completed it is important to promote it to spread the message. One strategy to promote your work is to make use of social media platforms, such as Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. It is also beneficial to contact local media outlets and organizations, who could further help to spread the reach of the poem.
In conclusion, spoken word poetry can be an incredibly emotional, powerful, and engaging form of art. It has the potential to make a large impact on the audience and has a wide reach, especially when used in conjunction with online platforms. With the correct techniques and strategies, spoken word poetry can be an effective way to make a statement and connect with an audience.

Minnie Walters is a passionate writer and lover of poetry. She has a deep knowledge and appreciation for the work of famous poets such as William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, and many more. She hopes you will also fall in love with poetry!

Leave a Comment