Poetry has been one of the most inspirational and creative mediums for self-expression for centuries. It’s no wonder that it has its own month: April is National Poetry Month. One of the most dynamic forms of poetry is spoken word, a form of performance poetry that uses the voice to engage the audience.
While no subject is off-limits in spoken word or any other poetry form, the most powerful spoken word poems are often about social or personal issues. If you could use some inspiration, check out these six spoken word performances.
The Danger of Silence by Clint Smith
Clint Smith is a New Orleans-based spoken word poet and teacher whose work draws from the lives of his students and his experiences as a teacher. In this TED Talk, he performs a short spoken word piece on the power of speaking up when it is necessary. The poem embodies three of four tenets he mentions prior to reading the poem: read critically, write consciously, speak clearly, and tell your truth.
Too Creative by Propaganda
Propaganda is a Christian hip-hop artist and spoken word poet from Los Angeles. His poems often fuse his religious faith with personal observations. In this piece, he discusses how some people in life limit their potential due to a fear of failure, especially when they are trying to be successful.
The American’T Dream (The Purse Suit of Happyness) by Suli Breaks
Suli Breaks is a UK-based spoken word artist known for his spoken word videos on his YouTube. His work deals with the topics of education, relationships, and simply everyday life. The poem in this video urges the viewer to not let their jobs define or limit them, especially if they dream of being something more.
A Good Day by Kait Rokowski
Kait Rokowski is a spoken word poet who has mainly been featured on the YouTube channel Button Poetry. The subjects of her poems range from personal issues to social commentary. This piece talks about how small moments of success can help make it easier to deal with depression.
Note to Self by Yasmin Monet Watkins
Yasmin Monet Watkins is a spoken word poet, author, and actress from Los Angeles. Her poems explore race, gender, sexuality, religion, and self-worth. This poem reads like a message written to the viewer to encourage them to love themselves.
Why I Think This World Should End by Prince EA
Prince EA is a hip-hop artist and spoken word artist from St. Louis, Missouri, mainly known for his spoken word videos. His poems discuss society at large, providing commentary on topics such as social media, the environment, and police brutality. This poem below considers all these subjects at once to tell the viewer why they should try and change the world for the better.