Spoken Word: How different is it?

I’ve often debated about the concept of spoken word poetry. I’ve watched a few performances over the past year and become more open to the idea. I had never read any of my poetry aloud or even contemplated it. But the other day I finally decided to change that. I recorded my first attempt at spoken word poetry. Granted the video was of a poem I wrote over a year ago, but I felt the poem had a sense of intimacy from the speaker that didn’t translate as well when read. This is the video:


For my first attempt, I’m pretty happy with it. Though I doubt I’ll be going to any open mic nights any time soon. I really enjoyed getting to add my personal touch to the voice of the poem. As a person who studies English and has a particular interest in speech and voice I really enjoyed considering each line and how to enunciate them.

I’m definitely considering doing more spoken word, but mostly to get feedback on what people think of my … I guess you would call it a performance. So if you would like to give me any feedback I would greatly appreciate it.

Some of the major differences I found between writing poetry and attempting to read it aloud were as follows:

1 – Syllables:
I always knew syllables where important to poetry. Finding you’ve managed to remember the difference between iambs, trochees, dactyls and anapaests, can feel like quite the achievement when writing. Sonnets make this feat particularly evident. I especially found this noteworthy when reading aloud because I had set the poem to a structure of 3 stanzas, 22 lines a stanza and 10 syllables in the first stanza decreasing by one syllable each stanza. I thought this came through very well when spoken because the lines became shorter and more intense as the poem continued. This reflected in my speech as I spoke the stanzas progressively faster.

2 – Syntax:
Some of the lines of the poem seemingly flowed well when written such as “That are embedded
forever, n’er to be shredded;
of a lust so blind that it burns
backstabbing like a branch from firs.”
This section of the first stanza I thought read quite well. However, in reality when I spoke this section it seemed quite irregular. A lot of the time poetry does deviate from regular syntax because it creates an interesting and emotive perspective but I felt this section didn’t really work the way I had hoped it would.

3 – Change of Voice:
In the second stanza we hear a couple of lines for the object of the poem. The male past lover. This is a bit more difficult to pick out when you’re speaking because there’s only really two ways you could go about it; change your appearance or voice. I did neither of these because it was only after I uploaded the video that I really noticed this part.

So I’ve decided I’m definitely going to make more of these videos and I’m looking forward to developing my spoken word style as well as start writing some more poetry because its been quite a while now since I wrote a poem. I went from writing one every day to writing none at all. I think I’ve taken a long enough break now to try and get myself back into a creative mindset. That is, before university comes and stomps all over it again.

Take care people!

Kyra xx

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