Friday, April 22, 2016

Spoken Word Poetry: How Does Spoken Word Poetry Respond to Universal Themes? #AtoZChallenge Letter S

During April I'm participating in the A to Z blogging challenge.
Each day, sans Sunday, offers an opportunity to write about a
letter of the alphabet with the goal of writing 26 posts.
April is also National Poetry Month.

This evening the Education Department at Idaho State University hosted a performance by Utah Spoken Word Poet Darren Edwards with a teacher workshop following the public performance.

Edwards shared several original spoken word poems with the audience. My favorite is"Prodigal," a poem about his decision to leave the LDS church, which his mother learned about when she noticed Edwards stopped wearing garments, the undergarments Mormons wear after a Mormon temple marriage.

I also enjoyed "Privilege," a spoken word poem in which Edwards defines white privilege for his white, male friends. "We need to tear this system down." Yes, white males need to hear other white males speak against white privilege, especially the privilege granted to them because of "my possession of a penis," as Edwards puts it.

In "10 Lessons I Won't Teach My Son," Edwards challenged messages parents often give their children, shattering such pipe dreams as "you can be anything you want to be." Of course, not every boy will grow up to be a Yankee.

Spoken word poetry grew from a long tradition of oral tales, but today's spoken word poetry has entered the mainstream and offers a venue for students to express emotion and to challenge systems of oppression.

Through the workshop my goal is to develop a lesson plan or plans for teaching my speech students spoken word poetry. We've already viewed and discussed some performance poets and poetry teams. Poets such as Sarah Kay offer a model for students through poetry about first love and other universal themes. Here's Kay performing "Private Parts."

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