Spoken Word

7 Spoken Word Poets Who’ll Wash Away the Bad Thoughts

There are times when we have days that are bright and cloudless. There are also times when we have days that are blue.


These are the days where nothing seems to make sense or we can’t find our words. And it can be hard. It may be a short funk or weeks of feeling like the only person in a big crowd.


But I’ve recently come across spoken word poets that have given me a brand new way to reflect on issues in my own life. I might’ve even laughed a bit. The art of performance poetry relies heavily on word play, tone, and inflection. Their rapid messages make you think, so you better keep up.


Here are seven spoken word poets to inspire your voice, pull forth your words, and give you some clarity on even the dimmest of days.


1. ‘When A Boy Tells You He Loves You’ by Edwin Bodney



Edwin Bodney will bring your dilemmas to life then lull them to sleep with poetic metaphors and a soft yet powerful voice. Of all the times you’ve been caught in a dance similar to the one Bodney is describing, you will remember that, unlike his performance, some things are just words. 


2. ‘How Many Lives Can You Live?’ by Sarah Kay



This poetess is popular among followers of the art. Feeling like an easy breeze personified, she speaks of the urge we have to run. We want to run against the hands of time to catch up to the person we want to be. Veterinarian, teacher, dancer, artist: is there ever enough time to keep up or slow down? Kay shows us how to simply live.


3. ‘To The Boys Who May One Day Date My Daughter’ by Jesse Parent



Now, if you want a little laugh, this guy is it. Spoken from the mouth of a father drowning in the love for his child, this performance will warm your heart and make you feel like a parent yourself, even if you’re far from being one. Parent reminds not just the boys, but all of us that a daughter is the product of love, magic, and life.


4. ‘Dear Straight People’ by Denice Frohman



If you are easily insulted or can’t take certain truths, skip this one. However, if you’re ready, then press play, stop, and listen. Here, Frohman’s fierce words sound like sparks on her lips trying to light a flame inside your thoughts. Taking a minute to hear her out will make you realize how much you can relate to someone who feels so different.


5. ’14 Lines From love Letters or Suicide Notes’ by Doc Luben



Doc Luben has a way of making the most lonely, obscure, and random lines sound amusing. How is it that love could take on so many forms and still be here one day and gone the next? Luben dives right into it with stories that could be the puzzle piece from everyone’s life.


6. ‘Explaining My Depression To My Mother’ by Sabrina Benaim



To all the late nights and long days where you couldn’t exactly explain how you feel, Benaim might do it for you in about three minutes. Her rattling words string together a clarification and simplification that, sometimes, our emotions are the hardest pictures to paint. Listen close to her metaphors. They may be closer to how you feel than you’d might believe.


7. ‘Alternate Universe in Which I am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me’ by Olivia Gatwood



If there was ever a verbal slap in the face to someone who’s put you down, it’d be Gatwood’s poetry. Hours wasted in one world could be given to something worthwhile in another. Her language can get prickly, so don’t take offense, just take notice.


At the end of the day, each of these performances tells a different story, captures a different feeling, and portrays a different hurdle. These poets have ignited many people’s emotions, including my own. By understanding your own feelings, you can better understand the feelings of others. Spoken word is the art of communicating emotional stories verbally, in a rhythmic way. If that’s not human, I don’t know what is.


Feature Image Via VideoBlocks