From Text to Voice: The Power of Spoken Word Poetry

by Sana Hameed, jaBlog! Blogger


Poetry is a common creative outlet, a way to channel new ideas, but it is also a method of establishing a deep and profound connection with another human being. 

In order to establish that relationship, flat words splayed across a page just aren’t enough. This is why spoken word poetry has been on the rise for the past few years. People pour their hearts and souls into taking the poetry they’ve written and speaking it aloud so their voices can literally be heard.

There is a certain flair that accompanies reciting a piece instead of just scrawling it on a sheet of notebook paper or typing it up on a laptop. You can emphasize certain words and phrases, pause for dramatic effect, and use facial expressions and tone of voice to paint a clear picture.

Sarah Kay, a seasoned spoken word poet from New York, uses anecdotes and acting to masterfully convey life lessons through the emotional roller coaster of reminiscing. However, she didn’t start out that way. At the age of 14, Sarah Kay began presenting her poetry at a local coffee house to an audience filled with older, more experienced poets.

Because she began at such a young age, Kay wanted to inspire other young people to express themselves through spoken word and began Project Voice, an initiative specifically created to motivate the students of today to tell their unique stories. She mentions her project and presents two excellent pieces of poetry in her TED talk and has cultivated a strong YouTube following with a variety of exemplary poems posted as reference materials for her worldwide audience.

Another spoken word poet by the name of Patrick Roche exemplifies the other end of the spectrum with his poem “21” which exhibits raw vulnerability and a poignant message. He never felt the need to share his poetry, but with a bit of encouragement he was able to find a new passion: performing his poetry for an audience. When Patrick shared his message, the videos of his poetry went viral and he was able to see the impact of his words.

Poetry bottles emotions, encapsulating them in language so that they can assault an audience with the same intensity with which they were written. These words usually parade across a page, but all of us, as writers, should consider performing our poems aloud and letting our voices be heard. Sarah and Patrick are both proof that our words can and will have an effect if only we have the courage to speak them out loud.


Sana Hameed

About Sana Hameed

Sana fell in love with writing creative fiction in first grade and has over time developed an interest in other areas such as poetry and nonfiction. She enjoys writing short works competitively to hone her abilities as well as working on her own fantasy novel. In her free time, Sana loves volunteering regularly, doing Tae Kwon Do, and spending time with her friends and family.

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