Words of Poetry to Voices of Spoken Word

I believe that history reinvents itself. The world today is comparatively different from the past two centuries not only culturally but literarily, as ways to express the human condition and societal problems evolved in the realm of poetry. History has been written and we are still in the process of telling it; literature should be no different. Poetry quite literally saved my life in the way of providing a private safe-haven to release and understand my emotions. Talking directly to a person about my issues only heightened my anxiety knowing they can take what they want from the conversation and mock me with it. Struggling with anxiety and depression isn’t just laying in bed for hours, its trying to make everyone around you smile despite the frown living in your heart. My whole mindset and vernacular stems from poetry. Life is more than the obvious, the stagnant, the conventional ways of living. Life IS poetry which is the point I’m making: the written words of poetry deserve to be spoken and felt, not just read subconsciously.

Important elements of poetry include meter, rhyme, form, sound, and rhythm. These elements can be compared to different instruments in a song: for alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeias etc. appeal to the ear giving poetry a musical quality. Another unique quality of poetry is the structure and subjective formatting. Poetry has the ability to be free form and prose, or defined by its different pattern of rhyme and meter such as villanelles, haikus, sonnets, sestinas, etc. Poetry embraces figuratively language, looking past objectivity by “blowing things out of proportion” with emotion and the human condition in its rawest form; it is the magnification of an event to reveal aspects of the scenario that often go overlooked.

The Poetry Foundation defines spoken word by its ability to “encompass elements of rap, hip-hop, storytelling, theater, and jazz, rock, blues, and folk music. Characterized by rhyme, repetition, improvisation, and word play, spoken word poems frequently refer to issues of social justice, politics, race, and community. Related to slam poetry, spoken word may draw on music, sound, dance, or other kinds of performance to connect with audiences.” Spoken word is an extension of poetry, much like using an extension cord; at face value they do the same thing, but gets you just a bit further. Slam poetry has the opportunity to revolutionize what we thought we knew and understood. We are use to learning about history factually and without emotional input. Publishing poetry on paper is the equivalent to writing help in the sand. The words want to be said, screamed even. Its evocation of history immortalizes itself with the oral tradition.

There is no argument over the difference in experience of looking at a picture of a whale, and actually seeing one in front of you. Or more sentimentally, imagine a lost loved one. Its been years however vague their memory may be, the sudden sound of their voice could stop your heart. THIS is poetry. Many authors such as Bronte, Hopkins, Rossetti, and Wordsworth take these existential crises and emotionally evaluate human reaction. For much time, the talk of death was taboo or frowned upon for its negative connotation. Modernists renounced the romance in romanticism, and melded it to the subjectivity of death; showing a normalcy for questioning the afterlife and to not fear and deny it, but accept and live until. Poetry grew to mean more than just positive, romantically inclined human tendencies; it soon embraced the dark, the injustice, and the ability to speak out publicly and proudly of one’s critique on the self.

Quite like Wordsworth, I too felt lonely as a cloud, living alone distance from everyone else who were enjoying themselves; until I started writing poetry. “Bottling up” pent-up emotional truly does damage on your mindset, and can affect your relationships with your friends and even the one you have with yourself. I had never talked to myself therapeutically until I started writing out what I was feeling in order to fall asleep at night without crying. Seeing the harsh truth to reality at a young age has caused lasting anxiety and a battle with depression, a battle I would have lost a long time ago if it weren’t for poetry. The lyrical format of my problems made them seem easier. My coping mechanism in life is using metaphors. If it weren’t for perceiving my obstacles as pebbles to skip one at a time, I wouldn’t even be typing this. The power of spoken word is the reiteration of life, a rethinking of history through morality and emotion rather than straightforward dates and events. And with that, I want to manifest a thank you to poetry for quite literally saving my life when I needed it most, and for showing a young girl that not being okay, is okay.

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