Spoken Word Poems

Spoken word refers to a conversational style of poetry that is intended to be performed out loud. The Urban Dictionary defines it this way:

Spoken Word is poetry intended for onstage performance, rather than exclusively designed for the page. While often associated with hip-hop culture, it also has strong ties to storytelling, modern poetry, post-modern performance, and monologue theatre, as well as jazz, blues, and folk music.

Due to its immediacy and direct rapport with its audience, this type of poetry often contains references to current events and issues relevant to a contemporary audience.

At its best, spoken word is a powerful, high-energy form of expression that attracts artists and audiences of all ages from a wide range of disciplines and socio-cultural backgrounds.

By following the links below, you may access original spoken word poems composed and performed by undergraduate students. Drawing on class readings in postcolonial literature and theory as well as observations from our field trip to Atlanta’s Center for Civil and Human Rights, the students reflected on our course’s key themes and connected these themes to relevant historical and contemporary issues. These poems served as opportunities to creatively interpret, synthesize, and meditate on the subaltern condition and its resonances in our everyday lives and local histories. These poems thus close the distance between our course materials and our experiences of the world around us. For as we acknowledged as a class, the issues laid bare by postcolonial women writers are not simply those of a distant past or remote region of the world but are those that we still grapple with today.

Please enjoy the dramatic performances below:

Veda Agarwal’s “A Burden Conferred

Jessica Copenhaver’s “To Be A Princess

Rylie Geohegan’s “Not A Thank You Letter

Magdalena Salazar Casajus’s “Their Pain

Evi Salguero’s “Imagining

Melody Shellman’s “Let Me Tell You A Story

Nicole Tansey’s “Seventy-Five Years


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