Spoken Word Poetry
Poetry & Spoken Word: What's the difference?
Poetry is an art where special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm along with the implementation of literary tools known as poetic devices.
Spoken word is a type of poetry that is geared to be performed onstage for an audience rather than merely exist in print somewhere for others to read. It's poetry that is meant to be shared.
Spoken word is often associated with a younger demographic and/or a hip-hop culture and lifestyle. To me, that's ignorance - and plenty of the blogs on this site will prove that. But I also understand the sort-of-misconception. We live in an era of social media. That means when people search Google, check out YouTube, see what's being Tweeted, etc., they are mostly seeing a certain type of slam poetry that is easy to tie to this stereotype. These "slam poems" that people are tying to all things Spoken Word generally cover different kinds of social issues and, again, are tied to the views of younger generations (millennials, really). And although I think this really is a way to throw an art form into a bucket so it can be essentially ignored by much of society, I think that the youth of today are doing Spoken Word really well - they are using it for expression. They're doing it in a manner that teaches. And most of all, they're writing and performing in a way that sticks - hopefully for years to come.
So while Spoken Word is certainly one form of poetry, its characteristic of being created to be performed for an audience make it simply a subset of the art of poetry. And its roots are deep...
Where Did Spoken Word Poetry Start?