The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness. James Gates Percival
Jean Roelke, one of our first collaborators here at Ideation Station, and Janet Karam form the Poetry Jams team. Their intention is to bring poetry, prose, spoken word, open mic and other events to our community that will encourage participants to find their voice. As an example, spoken word is written on a page, but meant to be read aloud to an audience. It relies on rhythm, improvisation, use of slang, word play, rhymes and other devices to encourage an emotional response in the audience. Find great tips for Spoken Word can be found here on the website Power Poetry. The five tips shared in the article are:
- Choose a subject and have attitude. No attitude, no poem! Feelings and opinions give poetry its “richness.” Each poet has a unique perspective and view of the world that no one else has. It is important that a spoken word poem embodies the courage necessary to share one’s self with the rest of the world. The key here is to build confidence. We must acknowledge ourselves as writers and understand what we have to say is important. Practice. Practice. Practice.
- Pick your poetic devices. Poems that get attention are ones that incorporate simple, but powerful poetic elements. Repetition is a device that can help a writer generate exciting poems with just repeating a key phrase or image. Rhyming can enrich your diction and performance. (Check out other poetic devices while you’re at it.)
- Performance. Spoken word poems are written to be performed. After your poem is written, practice performing the poem with the elements of good stage presence in mind. It is important to maintain Eye Contact – Don’t stare at the floor, or hide behind a piece of paper/phone. From time to time, look into the eyes of people in the audience to capture their attention. Projection is also crucial, so remember to speak loudly and clearly so that your voice can be heard from a distance. Enunciation helps the listeners to hear exactly what you say. Don’t mumble. Speak clearly and distinctly so that the audience can understand what you are saying. Facial Expressions help animate your poem. You’re not a statue: smile if you’re reading something happy. Look angry if your poem is about anger. This might sound silly, but using the appropriate facial expressions help express various emotions in your performance. Gestures such as hand motions and body movements emphasize different elements of your performance. Choose the right gestures for your poem.
- Memorization. Once you’ve memorized your spoken word piece, you can devote more time to your performance. Memorization allows you to be truly in touch with the meaning and the emotional content of your poem, even if you forget a word or a line you can improvise (freestyle), which is one of the most important elements of spoken word.
- Power Poetry. Spoken word must be, well, spoken. To create an online performance (so that you can share it on Power Poetry, of course) check out our multimedia tip guide to bring your work to life.
There are some wonderful TedX spoken word videos and the Playlist can be found here:
We at Ideation Station hope you will join our community and come to our events. You can find out more about our Collaboration Station Project and keep up with our events on social media like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or simply sign up for our newsletter that will begin distribution in September of 2017. Join our newsletter by clicking our logo here:
Finally, let’s share a poem – Finding your Voice by Robert Longley from PoemHunter.com.
It used to be so easy
And then something changed
All you took for granted
Is suddenly rearranged
It’s not the way you planned it
Not in your wildest dreams
Cruel it is this universe
Or sometimes does it seem
You’ve gained a little insight
Despite a sense of loss
It’s not unlike a ball
That at times you want to toss
There is no one way to view it
It all comes down to choice
To reach within your being
And find again your voice