Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Poetry Spotlight: Spoken Word/Slam Poetry

In my second year of college I took an Introduction to Poetry class and I fell in love with reading poetry. Before then, poetry was always a little intimidating and a medium that I didn't have much experience with. But after that class, I became addicted to reading poetry, and during the class I actually found myself thinking in and expressing myself in poetry- which I never would have guessed would happen in a million years. So, with this series I'm here to share some of my favorite poems in a way that I'm sure will turn out rambley and unorganized.

I discovered the world of Youtube slam poetry by accident and haven't looked back since. I love seeing slam poets read existing poems as well as their own and here I've rounded up some of my favorite slam poetry performances for those wishing to dip their toes into the world of slam poetry. If you have a favorite slam poetry or poetry performance, I would love to hear about it!

One of my favorite elements of slam is the strong feminist themes that are a part of many of the poems. Many of these poems have feminist themes but because they are modern and the poets are so young, the perspective on feminism is so modern and relevant (not that feminism is ever not relevant but you know what I mean.) I love that spoken poetry is a place for young women's voices to be heard in such an honest and uncensored way.

If you want to enter the world of slam/spoken word poetry, the first name you need to know is Rhiannon McGavin. She is the current teen-poet laureate of Los Angles (which is a position I didn't even know existed) and is one of the better known slam poets. She has a Youtube channel and you can see her perform there as well as on other slam channels. Some of my favorite of her works include:

This poem she did with for reproduction rights

This is the video I was introduced to Rhiannon through. Her she recites a poem by Charles Bukowski and then her original poem written in response.

The last one I will link is this one titled "Hereditary."

This is the accidentally discovered video that got me into slam. It's Alyssa Paul performing one of my all-time favorite poems by Plath "Daddy" and then her original response poem. This Plath poem really comes alive when it is read aloud and she does a great job.

Some of my favorite poems with feminist themes include:
"The Rape Poem to End All Rape Poems" (mature language in this one)
Kait Rokowski's "How to Cure a Feminist" (language again)
Karina Stow's "Trigger Warning"

So there's a list of my current favorite slam poems. I would love to update this list in this future when I have more to add, and I would also love for you to leave recommendations of your favorites!

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