1. In teams (2-4 members), on butcher's paper brainstorm ideas and topics
2. Choose one subject and each team member write non-stop for 5 minutes on that subject
3. Teams share the work, read it aloud, pick out the best bits, find a structure. Will this rhyme? maybe it raps? What works, what doesn't?
4. Write it down like a script. Cut the 'fat'. Who is saying what and when? Are you saying some lines together? Will there be a chorus?
5. Record yourselves performing the poem. Is it engaging? Is it affecting? If not, rework it until it is.
6. Rehearse the poem, add movement and rhythm, add some swag.
Making people shaky and teary
Personal spiritual; force
Connection to breath
Memorise into the muscles
Commit to the piece, to the word, to the sentence, from beginning to end
Build (peaks and valleys)
Transitions between stanzas
From the presentation: Popularising poetry for teachers
You need to perform as a group of 2, 3 or 4 members to be eligible to represent MHS at the Out Loud Schools Competition in this year's Melbourne Writers' Festival.
Performance poetry is written to be performed and uses poetic devices that hold the ear more than the eye.
Here are some general features that many slam poems have in common:
Most poems are around 2 minutes long (with a 30 second grace period).
Must be an original work.
Easy to understand the first time it is heard.
Rhythmic, passionate and has a “rise” (climax).
With themes + subjects many people can relate to, e.g. Relationships, Politics, Religion, Insecurity, Family or Social issues.
Makes a clear statement or point.
How the poem is performed is at least as important as the content.
Paraphrased from the presentation: Popularising poetry for teachers.
“What I like about Slam poetry and spoken word performance poetry is it’s all about the noises you can make with your voice and your body… you don’t have any music, you don’t have props.” Mantra
In these videos, teaching artist and two-time U.S. National Poetry Slam champion Guante will explore concrete vs. abstract language, turning ideas into poems, performance tips and tricks, going deeper with our ideas, and much more.
If you've enjoyed this performance poetry unit you might like to investigate other opportunities to create and present.