Spoken word poetry is my therapy. Plain and simple. It is my outlet to express my feelings when I can’t find the words anywhere else, and it is my comfort when I need to know that I’m not alone in my experiences. The world is crazy right now. Like… CRAZY. So, I wanted to provide some recommendations. Whether you’re getting into slam for the first time or just want some help finding more, I’m here for you. These are just a few of my favorites that will show you that, no matter how much you may feel like it, you aren’t alone. And not everyone in the world is out to get you. It was hard to limit this list down to only five, but I hope you enjoy the ones I chose.
Alternate Universe in Which I Am Unfazed by the Men Who Do Not Love Me by Olivia Gatwood
If you’ve ever dedicated too much time to a man who didn’t deserve it, this poem is for you.
Content warning: harassment, vulgar language, sexual references
“Once, a boy told me he ‘doesn’t believe in labels’ so I embroidered the word chauvinist on the back of his favorite coat”
“The boy says he prefers blondes and I steam clean his clothes with bleach”
“The boy doesn’t ask if he can choke me, so I pretend to die while he’s doing it”
Say No by Olivia Gatwood and Megan Folley
Sometimes the frustrations of being a woman and being expected to say yes all the time get to be too much. When that happens, listen to this poem.
Content warning: rape, harassment, sexual violence, vulgar language, gun violence
“They will curse the day where you learned any other word except yes and sorry”
“Somewhere, a girl is told that if she doesn’t want to hear the song about rape, don’t listen to it. But it follows her in the supermarket, the gym, the girl’s clothing aisle and now she knows all the words”
“In Connecticut, a girl is asked to senior prom by someone other than her boyfriend, she says no, and his knife blooms a corsage in her chest”
When the Fat Girl Gets Skinny by Blythe Baird
Body image. That’s all.
Content warning: disordered eating, body dysmorphia, anorexia
“Replacing meals with other practical hobbies like making flower crowns… or fainting. Wondering why I haven’t had my period in months, or why breakfast tastes like giving up”
“I only feel pretty when I’m hungry. If you are not recovering, you are dying”
“As a child, fat was the first word people used to describe me. Which didn’t offend me, until I found out it was supposed to”
“I say I am sick, they say no you are an inspiration, how could I not fall in love with my illness?”
Happy Father’s Day by Ebony Stewart
Sometimes we’re made to feel guilty about things that aren’t our fault. This poem gets that.
Content warning: domestic abuse (mental/verbal), manipulation, rape, abandonment
“He say he tired of not being the hero in my poems, I say ‘me too’’
“He say ‘you bitter’. I say that’s what happens when you leave and ain’t got nothin when you come back. I say where I’m from that shit hurts. He say ‘you ain’t gon be successful’. I say ‘you made sure of that. and even if I am, you ain’t got shit to do with that either’”
“Guess without you, I’d have nothing to write about, so thank you… for teaching me how to make nothing out of something, the way you raised me”
Ain’t I a Woman by Kai Davis
This poem mostly deals with the intersection of race and gender. The poet is phenomenal.
Content warning: harassment, sexual violence
“Am I not the pulse of every one of your revolts? Ain’t I a woman? Ain’t that a rhetorical question?”
“When I say no in three different octaves, ain’t I a woman?”
“When a White girl in my class calls us “we”, speaks of a universal need, says ‘woman’ is the new ‘Black’, talks picket signs like I’ve never marched before”