Recently, at Joe Biden’s inauguration, there was a poetry recital by a renowned spoken word poet (Amanda Gorman) which caught the eyes of many people across the world.
You probably are familiar with what poems are and might have had the opportunity to recite one too many in your primary school days.
What if I told you that those poems go beyond what you think? poems can be used to send messages, express feelings, and even carry vital and critical information about the origin of a people and also promote peace.
A poem can be used to start a movement, and cause people to raise against oppression and fight for their rights. With poetry, young people like you and me can add our voices to very important issues(education, health, climate change, etc) in our schools, communities, and countries.
By now, I am sure you might be wondering what the difference is (poems, poetry, spoken word) because this here is too much information. Are poems songs or calls to action? Why don’t we try to unpack all these in the following paragraphs?
Poetry is the art of writing poems with the help of some literary devices (alliteration, irony, metaphor, etc ). A poem is any literary piece of writing that is used to evoke a feeling or emotion.
A poem can be written and recited in front of an audience. A poem is not a song. Unlike a song, a poem is recited not sung. A spoken word piece is also a poem meant purposely to be recited to an audience.
A person who writes poems is a poet while someone who does spoken word is an artist, a spoken word artist. Before you get confused keep this at the back of your mind, every spoken word artist is a poet but not every poet is a spoken word artist.
A spoken word artist makes use of literary devices as well but because of the interaction with an audience, he/she might make use of his or her elements to carry a message across. However, a page poet does not get that liberty since his/hers can always be revisited for clarity at any time.
Poetry/poems are really easy to write. All poets do mostly is rhyme and compare their thoughts and experiences with the environment. Eg if I were to compare a country to the earth? I could put it like this;
A country is a fertile soil
Suitable for the growth and development of its people
For one to successfully write poetry, it’s simple. You just need to familiarize yourself with what literary devices you need to write a poem and then with that you can write any poem you envision. you can express your thoughts in diverse ways and by so doing you would be writing poetry and then you can decide if you want to be a page poet, waiting for someone to come and read your work, or a spoken word artist, taking your work to people?
The spoken word for me is the vacuum through which I make my voice heard. As an artist, every time I mount the stage I feel alive. I tap into a completely different world where there is nothing like an impossibility.
I can draw people’s attention to things they would have never imagined and make them appreciate what they have as well as the vulnerabilities that exist around them. I am sometimes able to show them the opportunities that they fail to recognize.
This gives me meaning because if I can see something another person can, the least I can do is show them for that is my one job in this life.
If poetry were to me given the needed attention, our communities would be much better than they currently are. We would have young people paying attention to their environments and making critical and informed decisions regarding their future and sustainability. Ghana would be a much better country.
If young people make poetry a second choice and decided to give it a shot, they would be allowing themselves to see things from different perspectives and allow themselves to try different approaches.