Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Spoken Word & Slam Poetry | How I Found it (+ some recommendations)

I, randomly, find myself on YouTube going through way too many spoken word, and slam, poems. And I really love both, in all honestly. I didn't really realize how much I loved poetry until very recently, the last few months, and I honestly think spoken poetry is my favorite. Even if I'm reading a collection, or just a poem, I have to read it out loud. I can't just - read it in my head, it doesn't feel quite right.

And I'm not sure what I wanted to say about this, I'm just kind of winging this post, but I wanted to talk about it. And wanted to see if anyone had any recommendations. There's so much out there, and I've found places to start, but I have no idea where to go from here. Or if other people share my love / slight obsession.

And I also wanted to share what I'd found, because maybe you hadn't discovered it and are going to end up loving them. Poetry is definitely not normally light, at least I haven't found any, but some of it is just incredible and it's so good.

So I'm going to just talk about some of my favorites - Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye, first off, who I ran across completely by accident. And, funnily enough, I found their poem together, first - An Origin Story. I'd highly suggest listening to it, it's about friends, best friends, and it's... surprising how much I understand finding weird coincidences. And it's one of my favorites, because it's so much fun. I'm going to link everything down below that I can.

I feel like I'm just getting into it and the lines feel blurry, for me, on the line between slam poetry and just spoken word poetry, but I'm throwing a bunch of links to poems below that I love. There's another by both Sarah and Phil, and then a bunch of Sarah's. Why only hers? Because I keep listening to them over and over, as soon as I can stop listening to all of these over and over, I'll move onto finding more.

The most important of the ones below... is kind of hard to say, they're all important. However - Transcript of Civil Rights is super important and explains something that's so complicated, in four minutes. These two girls are kick-ass. I actually found this through tumblr, completely on accident, and it made me a cry the first time through (a lot of these did).

They're all important, I just kind of want to end it here so you can go and watch all of those.

But there's one more thing I want to talk about - the poems I never thought of as spoken word poetry, that I just thought of as a poem being read out loud. And - I might have one of these almost memorized. You guys might have heard of the lovely, talented Neil Gaiman. I had a lot of trouble finding good recordings of both, but - The Day the Saucers Came. However - I can't find a good recording online of The Faery Reel, which is my favorite and I love it so much. (It's on the audiobook of his collection called Fragile Things, which I highly recommend all around). I'm so angry I can't find a good one - there are videos of other people reading it, or some awful live recordings of Neil. Anyway - I love that poem, just save up an audible credit and splurge. I mean, it's Gaiman, right? (Dammit. I even looked for sound bites, I'm so sorry I can't find it. It's in plain text here, but it's not quite as lovely. He even says himself it demands to be read aloud).

Finally, before you go and listen to all of those, I want to know if you enjoy poetry (of any kind)? Have you tried it since the weird forced dissection that happened in school? If you have tried it - what did you think of it? Do you have any favorites? (Spoken, slam, just words on a page, well screen, I'd love to read/hear any of it).

(Also, I want to add this is just a small tip of the iceberg, kind of thing. I really wanted to write this post before I got further into spoken word and/or slam. So I'm probably missing a lot of good stuff, but all I've found as been good so far).

Some Favorites: (from above and more) (warning: feeling and tears, grab some tissues)
Sarah Kay's and Phil Kaye's: "An Origin Story" "When Love Arrives"
Sarah Kay: Mrs. Ribeiro + Ted Talk (If I had a daughter / B is first) + Postcards + Speaker's Spotlight video
Shanita Jackson and Dakota Oder poem's Transcript of Civil Rights
"Bitch" Slam Poem
Ethan Smith's "A Letter to the Girl I Use to Be"
Aaron Burstein's "Social Anxiety at 130bpm"
Sierra DeMulder's "The Tampon Poem" (girls, it's funny but also not)
Dominique Christina's "The Period Poem"
Lily Myers, Zach Goldberg, and Evan Okun - "We Made It"
Rape Poem
(Not a complete list of what I've listened to and loved, but the ones I've made sure to save. Why do I never save things when it's late at night?)

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