Guest blog: Speaking of Poetry…

Artists such as Tinie Tempah are arguably spoken word poets

It’s one of the most easily accessible art forms – so why are more of us not embracing spoken word poetry? asks Farrah Kelly

Spoken word poetry is underrated. Shows are rarely performed outside of city centres, and it takes a great deal of ploughing through YouTube to discover an artist you can really fall in love with. With an art form so easily accessible to anyone – anyone with a voice and something to use it for, be it politics or love or anything in between – where do you start to uncover the talent?

So much spoken poetry is hidden – lost in archives, wedged between other entertainment forms or simply not labelled as ‘spoken word’ – it can be hard to find. It’s no wonder so few people bother to hunt for it.

Personally, this means that when I do stumble across a great piece (or even better, a great artist), it becomes precious to me. I hoard spoken word poems and poets like other people collect stamps. That is, if anyone in the world does actually still collect stamps. And because I’m so unbearably generous, I’m giving The Young Creatives a sneak peek into my collection.

Sarah Kay

Charming and sweet – her wide-eyed view of the world and human nature is so compelling that it’s practically compulsory to fall in love with her/ her poetry. Especially Hands or Worst Poetry, which both are filled with such a delightful optimism.

Stacey-Ann Chin

Her poems, though highly political, are also highly personal. Drawing on past experiences and using them impact- I listen to If Only Out of Vanity whenever I’m feeling particularly empowered. Powerful and outraged, it’s difficult to not get swept up in her energy.

Mark Grist

Remember the teacher that shot to viral fame in a rap battle with a student? That’s this fellow. Lyrically spot on, he’s the coolest English teacher you never had. His razor-sharp wit and undeniable charm are at their best in the less famous Really Good at Board Games.

Taylor Mali

Mali, also a teacher, will have you cheering in front of your laptop screen with his inspiring What Teachers Make. You’ll look back on all those detentions and surprise algebra tests you had to go through in a brand new way thanks to him.

Charlie Brooker

Though not a regular in the spoken word field, Brooker’s rant about The Sun was my favourite sketch on the satirical news show Ten O’Clock Live. Which Witch Hunt cleverly insults the newspaper with an extensive list of intelligent rhymes, and true to Brooker’s usual style, is dripping in sarcasm.

Poetry can be seen as elitist or lame, but spoken word doesn’t really fit that stereotype – it’s far too vibrant. Many of the best poets are young rappers, or impassioned activists – not necessarily people you’d typically associate withverse. That’s what’s so exciting about it! Language is meant to be spoken, and poetry is meant to be the best formation of language- and though I’m no mathematician, that’s a combination that’s just designed to be impressive.

So there it is. A cheeky glimpse into the world of spoken word.  You’re all very welcome.

Read Farrah’s blog here.

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