5 Spoken Word Poets Every Young Adult Should Know And Listen To

5 Spoken Word Poets Every Young Adult Should Know And Listen To

These people really know how to make words come alive.

The definition of spoken word poetry is known as, "a performance art that is word based. It is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of wordplay and intonation and voice inflection." In simpler terms, it's an incredible way to bring words to life in a way that sticks with the audience.

Its origins come from Hip-Hop music but has evolved over time and now includes many other elements of music, dance, theater and more. There are also many kinds of spoken word poetry including comedy, jazz and slam poetry.

Now that you have an idea of what it is, you need to hear some great examples. There's tons of spoken word throughout the internet, but I advise starting with some of the greatest and most notable artists, in no particular order.

1. Shane Koyczan

It's hard to mention spoken word poetry without immediately referring to Shane because his poem "To This Day" became so noteworthy it resulted in a Ted Talk for anti-bullying and a campaign that created an anti-bullying smartphone app. The Canada based poet has won multiple awards in local competitions and performed his poem "We Are More" at the opening ceremony of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. You can find his poetry on YouTube and his published books available where most books are sold.

2. Sarah Kay

Sarah's name is another one that goes hand-in-hand with spoken word. She has been a speaker at Ted Conferences numerous times and has also been praised for her work as the founder of Project Voice. Project Voice is an organization which is used to educate and inspire others through spoken word. Part of her work was even featured in season one of the Netflix original series, "13 Reasons Why." Her newest book, "All Our Wild Wonder," is expected to debut in 2018.

Suggested Works: "The Type," "Table games,"

3. Rudy Francisco

This California based poet has made a name for himself by sharing the stage with people like Gladys Knight and Jordin Sparks and influencing today's youth with his coaching and workshops. His poetry typically focuses on using his personal narratives to discuss the politics of race, class, gender and religion His first full-length collection of poems, "Helium," is out now.

Suggested Works: "Complainers," "Adrenaline Rush," "My Honest Poem"

4. Sierra DeMulder

Sierra is an international treasure in the spoken word community. Aside from her performance, she is known for being the co-founder of Button Poetry, the largest digital distributor of spoken word in the world. The two-time National Poetry Slam champion also has four published books and uses her talents to help today's youth during Slam Camp.

Suggested Works: "For My Niece Livia, Age 8," "Today Means Amen," "Paper Dolls"

5. Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Melissa's poetry will probably leave you in tears, either from emotion or laughter depending on which poem you're hearing. Her works have been featured in Buzzfeed and Glamour Magazine among other places. She is the author of three chapbooks, her most recent, "Peluda." explores the intersecting narratives of body image, hair removal and Latina identity. Melissa is currently an MFA candidate at NYU.

Suggested Works: "Tonsils," "Black Thong Underwear," "Like Totally Whatever"

Cover Image Credit: tinto / Flickr

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Why I Listen to Depressing Music Even Though I'm Depressed

Music that's powerful, music that speaks to me, music that means something.

It took me a long time to find my preferred genre of music. In middle school, I remember listening to pop songs that I often heard on the radio. I could (and still can) rap the entirety of Super Bass by Nicki Minaj and I dreamt about my crush professing his love to me by serenading me with Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes. 

By my freshman year of high school, those songs were no longer cool, so I went along with the crowd and started listening to the next most popular type of music: trap music. In my experience, these artists talked solely about fucking bitches and smoking ganja, even though, at that point in my life, I had no intent of having intercourse or "doing" the marijuana (boy was I naive). Though I listened to these genres to appease everyone else, I never felt completed like so many people claimed to feel when they listened to music. I did not have a passion for any bands or artists and I did not feel any sort of deep connection while I was listening.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided to explore certain genres that I hadn’t yet explored. The first bands I really grew to love were the Arctic Monkeys, Cage the Elephant, and The Kooks. Their music not only sounded great, but the lyrics actually meant something. They spoke about relationships, internal struggles, mental issues, and societal problems. Their lyrics resonated with me, and, surprisingly, the most depressing of their material resonated the most.

I have suffered from depression for as long as I can remember, though I was not diagnosed until a little over a year ago. I’ve been on meds and have learned coping techniques, but the most counterintuitive of those techniques is listening to these depressing songs.

One of the hardest struggles I have with depression is not being able to tell people how I am feeling, not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t have the words. I find that listening to others put into words the exact emotions that I have not been able to convey myself is quite reassuring.  These songs help me better understand my own emotions and give me an idea of how to turn those emotions into spoken language. 

When Alex Turner says “you can shriek until you’re hollow or whisper it the other way” or when AJJ says "everything is real, but it's also just as fake” I feel as if someone has entered my thoughts and put into lyrics the fears and feelings I struggle with on a daily basis. These songs make me feel as if there is a whole community of people out there who experience the same, seemingly-lonely experiences that I do. I feel more connected to the world when I listen to this type of music. I feel understood.

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Two Inspiring Movies Everyone Should See

Movies that take you on an emotional roller coaster.

I have always loved watching movies, especially ones with inspiring and emotional storylines. I get very invested and intrigued (maybe a little too much), but I love having that whirlwind of emotions throughout the entire movie.

Recently, I got the opportunity to see two amazing movies that I think are very important and had a huge effect on me. The films were “Lady Bird” and “Call Me by Your Name”. Both of these films came out in 2017 so they are fairly new. They are making a huge impact and receiving a lot of deserved recognition.

“Lady Bird” has such a special storyline. It follows the relationship between a mother and daughter in such a realistic way. As many girls know, a relationship with a mother is not always an easy one and the film really captures that frustration.

It follows the life of a young girl that is about to leave to go to college. So many things change for girls during this time and there are so many emotional challenges and obstacles. I absolutely love how this film displays this situation and many relationships in a very graphic and honest way. I think it is so important for young girls to watch this film and channel all those feelings. It is incredibly relatable and it reminds girls to be courageous.

“Call Me by Your Name” is seriously one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. It is a love story, which we have seen is countless movies, but this film displays a relationship in such a unique and beautiful way.

The best thing about this movie is that it is awkward at some points and maybe even a little uncomfortable. I admire this because love and relationships aren’t always magical and perfect. It expresses a type of love that is so unapologetic and pure. I could watch it over and over and still have the same inspiring feeling at the end. If you are a fan of emotional love stories or small independent films watch this movie. You will not regret it.

Cover Image Credit: Connor Limbocker

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