November starts NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month – when people who want to get their stories out but lack the motivation are inspired to write 50,000 words over the course of 30 days. Throughout the month, participants are motivated with tips to create a novel and ways to overcome writer’s block.
However, those who can’t do (@ me), watch others bring their ideas to creation.
In the age of social media poetry, especially visible on sites such as Instagram and Tumblr, spoken word poetry has risen in popularity. Defined as a word-based performance art that focuses on the aesthetics of word-play such as intonation and voice inflection, spoken word hits every emotion in the audience. Though National Poetry Month is in April, it’s never too early to find videos on Youtube that evoke emotion or prompt action.
From heavy-hitting topics like relationships and mental illness to inspiring odes of love and strength, here are some spoken word poems you should listen to:
The most viewed video on the Button Poetry channel on Youtube and probably the first poem that comes to mind when spoken word is mentioned, this powerful story of love while living with mental illness touches everyone who listens. Neil Hilborn uses his experience with OCD to set up perfect imagery and leave his audience as heartbroken as he sounds.
A poem about the priority of being thin and the expense of those with eating disorders, Blythe Bard uses her struggle with anorexia to call out the unspoken: “If you are thin to begin with when you get an eating disorder, you go to the hospital. If you are not thin to begin with, you are a success story.”
A reflection of a boy and his relationship with his alcoholic father, Patrick Roche’s heartbreaking poem is filled with powerful one-liners. His story will resonate with you for a long time.
A light-hearted poem about love at first sight, Rudy Francisco talks about his encounter with the barista at Starbucks. He’ll have you laughing at the awkwardness, but inspire you to order your own chai latte.
Brenna Twohy’s list of drafts is both charming and passionate, delivered in such a way that you can both laugh and relate to the messages she wishes to send.
Ethan Smith uses his experience as a trans man to share a letter to Emily. A small insight into the process of transitioning, Ethan’s last line will hit you hard.
And as a bonus,
Sent to me this week by a friend from home, this poem gets everything right (in my biased perspective). Olivia Gatwood nails the accent, the stereotypes, and most importantly, the strength of women in her ode.