On September 11, 2001, I sat in the back row of American Poetry 200 at 9am like it was any other Tuesday – with a heavy hangover and not much will to be anything more than physically present. Walking out of that class is when I realized that people were buzzing about something. I headed to the nearest classroom with a TV and saw the smoke.
I called my mom, who worked at an office in downtown Manhattan. No answer.
A spoken word piece was born. And the rest of that story birthed subsequent slam poems.
Global and social issues make for some of the most powerful content a slam poet can write about. I was a mere microcosm of the 9/11 World Trade attacks. My story is one of millions. But it has a message. A message that coverts to spoken word.
If you've ever found yourself saying “all these poems are about rape” or “slam poets are always talking about someone who died”…well, in one sense you may be somewhat accurate. But on the individual level, each story has nuances and all are unique and special.
What nuances did your story have? How was the impact you felt unique? Can you explain that in a way that others will feel it too?
Social Issues and Global Matters Make Powerful Slam Poetry Topics
If you’re in search of topics, ideas or some new subject matter for your slam poems, I might suggest writing about some of the global issues that touched your life.
Generally when writing about global or social issues, the goal is not to become a lobbyist. Making blanket statements won’t accomplish anything, never mind the simple fact that you’re not conveying your own message. Events that take place in this world affect us all in a personal way. That personal touch, that back slap to the face blindly delivered by fate - that’s the impetus of a slam poem.
19 Topics that inspire Slam Poems
Here are 19 events that took place in the last decade which you might have a personal experience with or story around. Hopefully these issues will inspire you to write a new slam poem…or perhaps jog your memory on another event that affected you.
Other topics that might help you out with writing slam poetry: