Help With Writing Slam Poetry
Throughout global education systems, from kindergarten through middle school, right into high school and beyond into secondary education institutions, the slam poetry movement is booming.
Educators are talking to people about the art of spoken word; over the past two decades, the culture has caught fire. That growth has spurred a rise in the amount of people searching the web for resources on slam poetry, and as a result there are a slew of slam poetry websites and slam poetry blogs. If you're here, you were probably looking for ideas on slam poetry topics or examples of spoken word poems - something to stimulate your brain, get the cogs all spinning so you can churn out your next 'light the stage' masterpiece.
(By the way...apparently a lot of you found this page when you were looking for a place to share your slam poems online. Not my fault, that's a Google thing I suppose. Anyway, if you're looking to submit a poem you can do so here: Slam Poetry Submissions / Get Your Slam Poem Live Online )
I've put a lot of resources out on the web about writing and performing slam poetry. That's allowed me to see the huge spectrum of people out there who are in search of resources for writing and performing spoken word, so I put this page together as a go-to-resource so you can link to all your needs for slam poetry in one place. Basically, I've done some homework for you. So bookmark this page and come back! :)
Blogs, Articles & Posts to Help You Write Slam Poems
If you're drowning in a drought of ideas out there and feel like no one is throwing you a life vest to stay afloat, then hopefully I can be of service. I've listed here a number of slam poetry resources to help you come up with ideas for your slam poem, put it together, improve your performance, find the right word, etc. So click away, my friend!
SlamPapi - This is Marc Kelly Smith's site. If you want to know the real ins and outs of slam poetry and where the spoken word movement really started, this is the site you visit first.
Nuyorican Poets Cafe - If you ever get to New York, Nuyorican is a MUST! This is the true home for slam poetry in New York. The Cafe's legacy is long and littered with historical figures in the movement, plus a ton of other artists. They do open mics and organized slams.
TED actually does a pretty good and consistent job of following slam poetry - you just have to find the right sections!
Brave New Voices - these guys put on one of the most powerful slam poetry series out there. It's predicated on youth poetry, and man do they find some fantastic talent!
Power Poetry - This is the largest site online for teen poetry. They have great tips on slam poetry, great topic ideas, a really nice selection of poems and new spoken word. These guys are good!
Button Poetry - This crew developed a system for producing, distributing, promoting and funding performance poetry. They showcase a broad spectrum of diversity in spoken word.
Deep Underground Poetry - they have a great forum where you can publish (store) your work. It's open so others can read, like, and leave feedback, comments and constructive criticism on your work. What I like best is the honesty people use in their comments - no frauds here!
Rain City - Seattle has a huge scene for slam poetry. Rain City where you have to start if you want to check it out.
Poets.org - The site itself is kind of a content farm (they sell advertising space), but with that aside, there is a wealth of information available. If you can find the right deep links (click, I have one here), it will help you sift through the clutter.
Wits End Poetry - A South Carolina organization dedicated to the history of slam poetry, gathering information, resources to help you write, and all around promotion and awareness of the scene
If you can't find what you're looking for with these resources, be sure to check in my blog - I have a list of articles and blogs on slam poetry. And I urge you, if there's something you want to see more of on the web as it pertains to slam poetry - let me know! I'm happy to impart my knowledge in the form of a new blog to help you out!!
How to Improve Your Rhyme Skills
First, let me point you to a page on my site, Digital Poet. It talks about a number of different rhyme styles, plus how and when to implement them - Poetic Devices For Slam Poetry
There are some 'tools' I use to help get the rhyme juice pumping. Sometimes you just need a quick word that rhymes, sometimes you're looking for a more complex rhyme, and sometimes it's really about serious word play. Regardless of where you're at on that spectrum, one of these tools will have you covered:
WriteExpress - an online rhyme dictionary for poets and songwriters. They also put out another site called Rhymer that uses a slightly more complex algorithm
RhymeZone - this site is a classic, and widely used and known. Not only can you find rhymes, but you can find near-rhymes. In slam poetry, that's just as good if not better simply for the creative aspect
RhymeBrain - great and simple. Type a word, and you'll get hundreds of rhymes and near-rhymes
WikiRhyme - leave it to Wiki to do something awesome! This not only gives you rhymes, but leads you to particular words and sounds that you can use to build out really robust and long rhymes
So those are tools that will help you find rhyming words and sounds. But if you want to dig deeper into your actual skills rather than just vocab, check out these sites:
Overall, if you want to get better at rhyming, you should listen to rhymes in different context. Check out different hip-hop artists, listen to other slam poets and even read children's books - you'd be surprised at what Dr. Seuss was on to! And as I mentioned in my Tips for Writing Slam Poetry, whenever you think of a rhyme or a line, don't lose it - write it down ASAP!
Finding The Right Words
The art of metaphor and analogy is not something that can be taught. Sorry. It's something that happens over time and it takes practice. Keep up with the gems I drop in my blogs and you'll improve - unfortunately that's the best advice I have.
On the other hand, something that you can do which will immediately boost the quality and impact of your spoken word pieces is intensify your vocabulary. Finding the right word can really affect the power of your poetry. Here are a few resources I use when the right word is at the tip of my tongue but I just can't get it out:
The web is full of resources that will help improve your spoken word writing and performance skills. I have to emphasize, however, that these resources are public, so they don't give you an 'edge'. What that means if you have to continue to work hard on your own style and creating work that helps you stand glow even in the brightest of lights with the sharpest of talent.
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