Top 50 Spoken Word Poems
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Top 50 Spoken Word Poems

The Poems You Need To Listen To RIGHT NOW!

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Light Tone Studios

Here are 50 spoken word/slam poems that might change your life, in no particular order. Check out these artists and the wonderful publishing groups that were so kind as to provide videos for these poets. Please give them a listen or a viewing because they can change lives!

50. "Dear Ursula" Melissa May-Dunn

Not only is Melissa an incredible woman, but she's also an incredible poet and her work is consistently brilliant. This poem is addressed to Ursula after Disney decided to make her skinny.



(Video Credit: Button Poetry)


49. "Dear Straight People" Denice Frohman

Denice Frohman is a member of Sister Outsider, which is a duet involving herself and Dominique Christina. Both of these poets will be at Mount Holyoke in February. Denice is forever comical, intense, and wonderful at whatever she does.




(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

48. "To The Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter" Jesse Parent

Jesse Parent is poet, father, comedian, host, and suave as anything. This poem combines all of these qualities and showcases him at his best. This is a poem that will leave you with a smile on your face.


(Video Credit: Button Poetry)


47. "OCD" Neil Hilborn

If there is a poem that could change your life entirely, this poem is it. If you've ever struggled with a mental illness, be prepared to cry and relate and be moved.


(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

46. "Explaining My Depression To My Mother" Sabrina Benaim

In this poem, Sabrina painstakingly explains what depression feels like, and its connection to anxiety. Sabrina performs with her whole heart.


(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

45. "21" Patrick Roche

This is a story of loss and hardship and growing of age. It is heartbreaking. It is relatable. It is perfection.


(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

44. "Shrinking Women" Lily Myers

Lily Myers tells a story about women in her family and the urge to shrink themselves down. This poem is encouraging and eye-opening about the treatment of women in society. Lily is a true feminist.


(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

43. "This Is Not a Poem" Anthony Anaxagorou

This poem is political, strong, and essential in its content. A British poet, Anthony gives voice to many of the issues plaguing our world today, from violence to racism to discrimination. This video is not a live performance, but a photo montage of the events and situations he speaks of in his writing.

(Video Credit: Anthony Anaxagorou)

42. "A Letter to the Girl I Used to Be" Ethan Smith

While this video shows images of what he is discussing, the experience of watching him perform this, put his whole body and soul into the performance, and make an entire audience teary-eyed was breath-taking. Here's a poet who understands world issues and is not afraid to confront them.42. "A Letter to the Girl I Used to Be" Ethan Smith

Ethan is phenomenal and this poem is mind-blowing in every sense of the word. This poem leaves you speechless and gasping for air.


(Video Credit: Button Poetry)


41. "Fantastic Breasts and Where to Find Them" Brenna Twohy

First, Brenna is a hero for writing this poem and performing this poem and being nerdy enough to even dream up this poem. Second, it's brilliant and feminist and lovely. Third, you need to listen to it RIGHT NOW.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)


40. "Falling In Love with a Divorcee" Eirean Bradley

This poem is so beautiful and so well-written and so Eirean Bradley that it will change the way you look at love, at divorcees, and at marriage forever.


(Video Credit: Button Poetry)


39. "Wile E. Coyote" Shane Hawley

This is one heck of a funny poem, until you realize the entire poem is an extended metaphor and then you get hit in the face with how magnificent Shane is about telling you what you need to know. Shane Hawley has changed lives across the globe.

(Video Credit: Matt Peiken)

38. "Pretty" Katie Makkai

If you need a poem to help you with your daughter, this is the poem. If you need a poem to make you feel empowered and feminine, this is the poem. If you need a poem to make you feel crazy awesome all the time, this is the poem. If you need a poem, this is the poem.


(Video Credit: crzylbrlchick)

37. "Today Means Amen" Sierra DeMulder

Sierra and this poem are so beautiful and so important and so necessary. Also, her book, Today Means Amen, is coming out soon. Go support this beautiful, awe-inspiring, talented poet!

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

36. "Dear Future Lover" Tasha Receno

If you ever write a letter to your future lover, Tasha Receno is the person to write it for you. This future lover won't be ready for what will hit them.

(Video Credit: Vancouver Poetry Slam)

35. "To JK Rowling, From Cho Chang" Rachel Rostad

This poem puts a famous author in her place when it comes to racial identity. Rachel Rostad turns Cho Chang from the weak character Rowling created to this strong empowered woman that she could have been.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

34. "The Type" Sarah Kay

Originally written as a poem for her best friend, this poem speaks to a universal truth about women being categorized by men who like to "type-cast" them into various roles. Sarah Kay helps women everywhere break free of those molds and learn to love freely.

(Video Credit: Speak Easy NYC)

33. "The Hunger Games" Imani Cezanne

This is not about the movies or the books. This is about life and death, race and culture, and how to survive in a society that isn't on your side.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

32. "Give This Poem A 7" Denver Brave New Voices Team

This is a life-changing poem by 3 students who are sick of what slam asks of poets. They don't need to be coddled. They need to be inspired and driven. They are the future generation.

(Video Credit: John Garcia)

31. "Brown Boy. White House" Amir Safi

Growing up a minority, waiting for a world that accepts you for who you are, isn't easy. Amir describes his experience with this and leaves you wanting to know so much more.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

30. "I Sing My Body Electric, Especially When My Power Is Out" Andrea Gibson

Andrea sends chills down my spine when they perform this poem. Only a poet of this caliber can write poetry that touches every single person in the room. This poem is for anyone who is seeking understanding.

(Video Credit: statsie15)

29. "Love, Sweat, and Tears" Alysia Harris

Some of the best metaphors ever written are in this poem and the intimacy with which Alysia performs this piece leaves her vulnerable and open. That vulnerability is the magic that is her art.

(Video Credit: donnstaaa)

28. "Body Image" MiKo Berry

Body image issues are not solely feminine and MiKo Berry demonstrates what it feels like to face body image issues and overcome them one day at a time.

(Video Credit: Evidently Salford- Spoken Word Poetry)

27. "Instructions for a Body" Marty McConnell

Perhaps one of the best written poem ever, Marty instructs the audience to praise their bodies. She wants to praise the flaws, the imperfections and the beautiful spaces of the body. There is only one word to describe her performance: joy.

(Video Credit: Spoken Poetry TV)

26. "Unsolicited Advice to Adolescent Girls with Crooked Teeth and Pink Hair" Jeanann Verlee

This is the best advice for adolescent girls. A poem for your teenage daughters or friends or siblings, it touches on every awkward moment or situation and addresses so many issues in the span of only a couple of minutes.

(Video Credit: Robotsonparade)

25. "Let's Take It Back" Regie Gibson

This is the definition of art. There is rhythm, soul, beat, and performance. Regie Gibson is the IDEAL poet to watch for a poem that gets into your body and stays there.


(Video Credit: WeAreCSW)

24. "To This Day" Shane Koyczan

Shane is, first and foremost, a storyteller. He tells the story of confusing pork chops with karate chops and always being the outcast because of his flaws. One of the best lines in the poem is, "If you don't see anything beautiful about yourself, get a better mirror."

(Video Credit: Shane Koyczan)

23. "How the Ghetto Loves Us Back" Roger Bonair-Agard

Roger is funny, poignant, and strong in this poem about the ghetto. It is culturally relevant, sensational, and enrapturing, from the track suit down to the nail polish.

(Video Credit: Urban Renewal Program)

22. "Skinhead" Patricia Smith

When discussing spoken word poetry, there is no discussion without Patricia Smith. Essentially seen as one of the founders and leaders in the spoken word/slam community, she is the prime example of how to perform a persona piece.

(Video Credit: Urban Renewal Program)

21. "Death From Below" Dan Sully & Tim Stafford

By far, the funniest poem of all time. You'll find yourself laughing about this poem days after listening to it. It is utterly brilliant.

(Video Credit: Brad Conover)

20. "Like Totally Whatever" Melissa Lozada-Oliva

A response poem to Taylor Mali's "Like Lily, Like Wilson," Melissa knows how to speak her mind and speak it well. She is not afraid to go head to head with one of the more popular poets in the slam community with this piece and use her voice to do it.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

19. "In A Too Small Kitchen" Sam Mercer

Do you like Hulk? Do you like breakfast? Good. Watch this poem. Sam Mercer makes the best Hulk.

(Video Credit: Granite State Poets)

18. "Escape Artist" Sage Francis

This verges on the more musical side of spoken word, but it is so well-written with some of the best images in any given poem or song. Even the puns are executed with style.

(Video Credit: Epitaph Records)

17. "Deodorant" Will Giles

This poem will make you think twice before buying deodorant. Will Giles is one poet who will take you on the ride of your life and leave you questioning everything you thought you knew by the end.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

16. "Rekia Boyd" Porsha O.

Porsha O. is an incredible poet. This poem may be one of her absolute best poems. It's current and necessary and so very relevant in today's culture.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

15. "Friend Zone" Dylan Garity

Dylan Garity refuses to give into the friend zone frame of mind. You can only hope more people listen to this poem and learn what nonsense the friend zone really is. This is the poem to share if you have a friend who just can't take a hint.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

14. "Questions for Fox News Regarding the Race Card" Crystal Valentine

Dear Fox News, you're all sorts of wrong. Also, what's a race card? Sincerely, Crystal. The best critique of Fox News performed ever.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

13. "For Colored Girls" Miss Haze

Was Missy Elliott part of your childhood? This poem will bring you back and make you nostalgic for the old days of good music and female confidence.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

12. "Like Like" Theresa Davis

Theresa Davis is 100% fantastic 100% of the time. This poem is no different. Find out what she like likes in this poem.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

11. "Not An Elegy for Mike Brown" Danez Smith

This is NOT an elegy for Mike Brown. This is a piece of heaven performed on earth. This is getting sick of the same discrimination happening again and again and again. This is a plea for change.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

10. "When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny" Blythe Baird

This is about an eating disorder that was not recognized when it needed to be. This is what happens when fat girls get skinny and nobody thinks there is a problem.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

9. "The Colors We Ascribe" Emi Mahmoud

Emi Mahmoud was this year's champion of the Individual World Poetry Slam. Is there even a question of how good she is? This poem will leave you silent, contemplative, and conscious.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

8. "Black Rage" Janae Johnson

Janae is powerful, passionate, and concerned about what black rage means in a society that has turned its back on its citizens. This is her response and her call for social justice. This is her rage.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

7. "Meauli" Terisa Siagatonu

Terisa tells the story of her family, her heritage, and her legacy. She understands what it means to look for belonging in the gaps.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

6. "More Words Than We Deserve" Sally Jenkinson

Sally discusses love, language, and feminine desire in relation to a loved one who may not understand how to give the love that is deserved. This is for Valentine's Day and every other day.

(Video Credit: The Huffington Post UK)

5. "Meanwhile, In Post-Racist America" Raven McGill

Think we are actually in post-racist America? Think again. Raven McGill gives her description of what it is like in this fictional land of "post-racism."

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

4. "Dry Cake Wishes and Tap Water Dreams" Rachel Wiley

Rachel Wiley knows intensity, knows how to wish horrible things like beige and oatmeal on the people that deserve it most, and knows self-confidence. This is for the ex that never knew how to respect and appreciate you.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

3. "Thighs" Desiree Dallagiacomo

Seriously, what is a thigh gap? According to Desiree, it doesn't even matter. It is not necessary. It is NOT the definition of pretty.

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

2. "Argument for the Low Budget Gay Movie" Cam Awkward-Rich

The setting is a field. Can Steven Spielberg work with that? Cam can. Any indie filmmakers available?

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

1. "A Genealogy" Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Hanif breaks hearts, but in a good way. This is a story about a culture and a genealogy. This is Hanif's legacy, his journey, and his belonging in a poem. What's yours?

(Video Credit: Button Poetry)

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