In today’s political climate where politicians sputter hasty tweets, ramble in convoluted circles without coming to a concrete answer, and strip away the voices of disenfranchised groups of people, slam poetry seeks to reclaim the voice as a tool for power. Though in the media, both politician’s and civilian’s words are often misconstrued or misinterpreted, slam poems seek to tell the poet’s truth about whatever topic they choose to recite. Slam poems are poetry spoken aloud to an audience, often with intense emotion conveyed through pointed word choice, syntax, rhythmic considerations, and a heartfelt, zealous voice.
In order to write a slam poem that delivers its intended meaning successfully, the poet must consider each individual word and syllable within it to deliver their intended meaning. Unlike typical poetry, which is not often read aloud, the writing of slam poems must consider both the written word and spoken delivery. Each word must have a determined, concrete meaning and be spoken through impassioned, dynamic dialogue. When done successfully, these poems are meant to incite emotion within the poet’s audience and can inspire change, or call to action. The meanings of these poems are meant to be understood universally, as opposed to much of the noninclusive language used in political rhetoric that often gatekeeps against those without higher levels of education and English language comprehension. While some politicians avoid giving concrete answers to pressing questions by beating around the bush, each word in a slam poem must be carefully chosen and articulated. Slam poetry allows for the speaker to thoughtfully deliver a message of what is important to them, and can serve as a form of protest and a platform- for everyone.
Check out some of these slam poems below:
- Neil Hillborn “OCD”
- Javon Johnson “Cuz he’s black”
- Savannah Brown “Moles don’t think about space or small talk”
- Sukhjit Khalsa- Slam Poem
- Savannah Brown “I wrote this happy”
- Jillian Rabideau “Rated R”