Spoken word is a form of art where a poet will not only read but also recite their work with passion and emotion. A message is delivered through how the artist says the words and not just through the words itself. I know for a fact that reading versus hearing a poem makes you feel two very different things. I own both Neil Hilborn's and Olivia Gatwood's books, and although their work is amazing, it doesn't beat hearing them deliver it themselves. (If you don’t know these artists you should look them up.)
Spoken word artists, without a doubt, have the most guts. I truly believe that spoken word is the most exposed form of art that exists. All other art forms can hide behind their music, their hands, their equipment, or their instruments.
Musicians can get away with hiding behind their instrument.
Painters hide behind their brushes and easels.
Athletes are almost always on a team. (You may wonder, sports are an art? Well, If you put enough passion and work into something you love, it’s your very own expression of art.)
This isn’t to discredit the work of these artists, because everyone is blessed and talented in different ways. Many of us cannot even begin to understand the work it takes for each one of those skills. Even with all that work, they are not as exposed as as these poets. All they have is their voice and their words. No music, no teammates, It takes a lot of nerve to get up and recite your, sometimes very vulnerable, work with sentiment and conviction. To so publicly expose what means the most to you takes a lot of guts. They have all my respect.
They have all my respect because I’ve written poetry with the intention to be spoken word; and yet, I do not have the nerve to say any of it out loud. I’ve tried when I’m alone in my room. I’ve thought about how it would sound and how it would be delivered. But each time, I choke. I choke because it’s not something I can’t do. I cannot stand up and display everything, as part of me started writing because I couldn’t find a way to put together what was going on through speech. Though I love it and I love writing, I don’t think I’d ever be able to stand up in front of a bunch people and pour my heart out.
So, yes, they have all my respect. I’ve put myself in their shoes, and I must say they’re a pretty terrifying pair. It’s more than a 'Mr. Tough Guy' could ever do. If you ever scroll past a spoken word video on Facebook, scroll back up and dedicate two minutes of your life. You may not understand what they really are saying, but you can comprehend and appreciate it. They are putting themselves out on the line to share with the world something they love – which more than most people do every day.