Exploring the Art of Spoken Word and Written Verse


When we say poetry – immediately you think of a hidden meaning between the lines that are left for your interpretation. If you go to poetry readings, you know that there are often breaks between lines. Those breaks serve to give you a moment and think about what has been said and let those words and their many meanings sink into you. A poem can be read multiple times and each time you can find many different meanings to the very same poem.

When it comes to spoken words, they are written with the audience in mind and their reaction. There aren’t hidden meanings, and the references are easier to catch and rely on. When there is a break between lines, it’s more to see the audience’s response to your previous line than to let the words sink in because there is no need for those words to sink in – they are clear as well as their meaning.


Spoken Word Poetry

Spoken Word is a poetic performance art that is word-based. It is an oral art that focuses on the aesthetics of word play such as intonation and voice inflection. Where lines run on without breath and where one pauses — all add to the poem’s meaning. Spoken word poetry is emotion-heavy and seeks to move the audience through sounds and sights. Often the poet accompanies the oral with gestural, making the piece more impactful. If you have never been to a recital, you’re missing out!

Written Poetry

A wooden desk with a single rattling leg is perched against the window that overlooks the bustling streets of the old city. Crumpled bits of paper are strewn across the floor. The chair you’re sitting on keeps making that sound you hate but it helps you think. Inspiration flows from everywhere, and you place your pen on a new piece of paper…

Wordsworth famously defined poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” While all poetry is emotional, there is something particularly well-crafted about written poetry. Each word seems to be in its exact place playing a specific part in bringing the poem to life. While reading poetry, one always looks at where the line breaks are and is mesmerised by how the words look on paper. There is a rustic, old-world charm about this poetry, which makes one nostalgic like reading love letters from your first love.

While they do have their similarities, they serve different ways of expressing yourself and different purposes. Poetry is more personal, it contains the artist’s thoughts and emotions while spoken word does contain the artist’s thoughts and emotions, it’s written in a way that will provoke a reaction from the audience – much like live theater.

While there are different aesthetics to these two kinds of poetry, they are, inevitably, interlinked. After all, spoken word poetry is always written down first, and the beauty of written poetry is enhanced when read out. We need to remember to fill the world with all kinds of poetry as Keats said about beauty, “an endless fountain of immortal drink, pouring unto us from heaven’s brink.”

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