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5 Slam Poems You Have to See Performed

Very Quiet - Flickr, Taken November 11, 2010

Slam poetry wasn’t always a celebrated art form, once shunned by credited literati who believed poetry was confined to be read on paper. Performance poetry is an interactive poet-audience experience and it is an intimate affair that requires a reaction. It is a tactile, physical manifestation that gives literature a new dimension. Here are some of slam poems that are relatable and brutally expository of social constructs:

A Brown Girl’s Guide to Beauty – by Aranya Johar

This poem speaks to people of color, both men, and women, who have been faced with societies preconceptions of beauty being reserved for light skin. This poem entails some of the most prominent insecurities of people who are afraid of the colors they were ascribed, with a combination of witty anecdotes that are all too relatable.

2. Say No by Olivia Gatwood and Megan Falley

The poem starts with an anecdote about a couple going to a baseball game and the subsequent actions that lead to an antagonized society in which “they will curse the day you learned any other words besides yes and sorry.

3. The Colors We Ascribe by Emi Mahmoud

Mahmoud expresses the fear of death and hardship while facing conflict and discrimination against colored and black people through this colorful poem. With the historical context of the Sudanese war in the foreground of this poem, this poem speaks to those facing discrimination in all forms.

4. Somewhere There Is A Poem by Gina Loring

This poem is a fusion of performance with the unique twist of vocals that has the audience on edge with anticipation the whole time. The combination of her singing variation whereas generally performing gives this piece a deeper dimension.

5. Somewhere in America by Belissa Escobedo, Rhiannon McGavin, and Zariya Allen

The internationally acclaimed trio of poets perform this renowned poem that has the exuberance to shock any audience with how young these girls are, but the power they hold in their literary voices. The girls also founded Get Lit, and LA based non-profit organization that aims to empower youth through poetry.

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Written by Mana Mehta

Mana Mehta is an aspiring journalist, and on most days you can find her glued to a good book, eating Mexican food or debating politics. Follow her on twitter @mana_mehta or EMAIL her for inquiries at manammehta@gmail.com