Writing a poem about something that really bothers you can help you vent without losing your cool; it can put you in touch with why exactly the issue bothers you; it can help you spread the word. Once you’ve written a poem, you should be proud and share it with friends and family. You can even go to an open mic night at the nearest café, or enter to read your poem in a poetry slam competition...to win a prize, of course.
Close your eyes. Picture a scene that relates to the issue you want to write about. Focus on the details of this scene. Focus on how you feel as you picture this scene. Now start writing. Abandon all rules of grammar and language—just let the words come out.
Time for terms
Learn some poetic devices that you can use when you begin to craft your poem. Language is full of surprises. Some poetic terms include :
- Alliteration-the repetition of the beginning letters of words in a line of poetry. “This whale worried about what woeful fish would wander”
- Onomatopoeia-When the sound of a word imitates its meaning. ie) buzz, hiss, splatter, flush, whoosh
- Simile-the comparison of two objects or emotions using “like” or “as”. “Her summer hair was like a waterfall of straw”
- More poetic terms here.
Look it up
Find some words that relate to your cause that might sound neat in a poem. Try to get words that you haven’t heard yet but aren’t too complex. You don’t want to lose your audience.
Words to be heard?
Next you should decide if you want this poem to be heard. Spoken word poetry is meant to be read aloud to an audience—it should be performed. Engineer the words you wrote in step one into a poem that is fun for you to read and even more fun for an audience to see you perform. Use words that rhyme, introduce rhythm, move your mouth and your body, and captivate your audience.
If you don’t want to write spoken word poetry, focus more on the words and their sounds than on how they would feel to read aloud.
Take a break
Once you have a first draft, just give yourself some time to reflect on why you are writing. Then revisit, revise, and fine-tune it.
Practice makes perfect
Read it to yourself in the mirror, read it to your friends and family, or bring it to an open mic night somewhere. Ask people for their constructive comments and make some changes. Usually, you’ll be able to tell by the audience reaction or your inner gut feeling whether something was successful or not.
Loud and clear
If you write a spoken word poem, you’ll want to practice reading it as many times as it takes for you to be comfortable with it. Don’t be afraid of your voice so always remember to speak loudly and clearly. You want your audience to hear every word. Memorize your poem to the point where you can play with the rhythm and flow - not just so it sounds memorized.
On the page
If you wrote a poem for the page not for performance purposes, don’t be afraid to submit to your school newsletter or even your town paper. Get the word out about your issue!
Sample Spoken Word Poem
BLAST……off, like billions of rockets.
Not to the round face moon, though.
The tiny vessels in her Cracked lungs,
Now gunked and junked with
Slime, tar, the Inside of a Cigarette.
YUCK, YUCK, cough, cough….
She chokes and smokes, can’t
Tell the difference between the two.
Her daughter has pigtails, sits in a
Cloud of 4,000 chemicals. She sucks
In what mom spits out—second hand.
F-R-E-S-H, fresh air is a word she
Won’t know. She won’t grow,
She won’t ever glow unless we
Slow……or STOP the moms
Who can’t QUIT, They can’t
on their own.
Power Poetry: using poetry for social change