Friday, June 27, 2014

Spoken-Word Tips Part 2: On Concrete Language, Specificity, and Turning Ideas into Poems

Here is the second video in this series sharing strategies for anyone interested in writing and performing spoken-word and slam poetry. Here is part one if you missed it; more coming!

This video also mentions a few poems that I think demonstrate the power of concrete language really well. Here are links:

Ed Bok Lee’s “If in America"
Lauren Zuniga’s “World’s Tallest Hill”
Homeless Ryan K.’s “For Joseph”
Andrea Gibson’s “Letter to a Playground Bully”
Lupe Fiasco’s “Kick Push”

Finally, here is a list of other resources for aspiring spoken-word artists.


jason said...

i have a mental illness and i am medicated and stable but with this stability it flattens my creativity at least with art i can come up with jokes but the poems i have written the ones i feel are good have all come from unstable under medicated state. this is more personal problem and largely psychological though inspiration doesn't strike and the good lines don't come with out those factors. have you ever heard of putting yourself in pain or stress intentionally to inspire . i wanna be healthy and not taking my medication is bad idea for number of very good reasons but i also want to create your thoughts? and what gets you into the mind set of oh shit i have to write right now?

Guante said...

Jason-- great questions. I am definitely not qualified to speak directly to the experience of medication flattening creativity, but that does bring up a great point-- I think "inspiration" need to be de-mystified.

Inspiration doesn't just come from living through a traumatic experience or falling in love-- or pain-- it can be as simple as reading a book and having an idea, or eavesdropping on a conversation at a coffeeshop, or surfing the internet taking buzzfeed quizes, haha. The ideas will come.

I think it can help to do writing exercises too, rather than waiting for inspiration to strike. Maybe it's opening up a book to a random line and then writing a poem based on that line, or finding a photograph and just writing based on that photograph. It doesn't have to be be brilliant or perfect right away, but these can be gateways to jumpstart the creative flow.

As for that mindset, it doesn't happen very much for me. It's usually more a matter of discipline, of writing a bunch even when I don't feel like it. But when it DOES happen, it's usually sparked by someone else's art-- a movie, a book, a poem, a song, etc. Especially movies, for some reason.