Who doesn’t enjoy watching poetry performed?
Imagine... The artist stands before you and their words come to life right before your eyes. You listen and see a remarkable transformation from page to stage. Their poem begins to take shape, to manifest. You feel – more depth, meaning and emotion given to those very words you’ve read once before. Words intricately written given a new pitch, a new pace, a new power.
That is poetry performed.
Poetry and performance. These are a few of my favourite things!
I believe poems are written, not only to be read silently within our heads, but to be performed boldly and openly for an audience to enjoy.
I also love when captivating visuals are captured alongside the lines of a poem. Now, not only do the words give meaning, but symbolic visuals and scenes are combined with enchanting music – all adding beautifully to the experience of the poem.
This artistic blend of poetry, music and film is one of the many reasons I enjoy watching videos that poets and spoken word artists make. They’re creative, intriguing and open up the world of poetry to those who may not always sit down to read a book.
Poetry Performance Videos to Watch
Because of this, I’ve put together some poets and spoken word artists to watch below, just for your viewing pleasure! (With a little more at the end).
The artists are diverse and cover varied topics through their work which I admire for different reasons. I’ve selected one spoken word poem from each artist to include, but they all boast an impressive catalogue of work which I definitely recommend to watch and enjoy!
Suli Breaks is a spoken word poet, writer and speaker from the UK. He gained widespread popularity through YouTube when his poem ‘Why I Hate School but Love Education’ attracted well over a million viewers within the first few days. I stumbled over his work a few years back and was drawn to the simplicity and truth of the ideas he conveys so eloquently.
This spoken word poem attracts me because of the metaphor that leaves you in a state of self-evaluation. He speaks on the lives of many who often abandon their true dreams and visions to chase after safer, more acceptable paths in life. Over time this creates death of desires, ambition and passion. The powerful comparison in this poem should inspire viewers to consider what living and thriving means to them.
My favourite lines of the poem captures the harsh realities of not having the courage to step out into purpose, for fear of losing the comforts we already know.
“Chasing for promotions we don't really want to hang around necks like medals But instead they hang around our necks like nooses attached to glass ceilings And most don't even have the courage to jump so instead remain on an office chair in purgatory Not living or dying, just surviving.” - Suli Breaks
Sophia Thakur is a young performance poet and artist from the UK. I first came across her work through a very well-tailored YouTube advert that popped up as I was watching poetry videos. Usually I always skip the ads but the beautiful poem below rightfully captured my attention.
In this short poem, she voices the importance of expressing your heart by giving it a pen. Whatever that “pen” is for you, allow your heart access to it. To feel, to enjoy, to manifest what and how it truly feels without fear and without judgement.
What I like most about this poem is the simplicity of the message, delivered in such a calm and humble way.
Janette...IKZ is an American poet, speaker and musician. She’s performed for Passion 4 Christ Movement, consistently using her creative gifts to glorify God. A friend previously sent me some of her poetry and I adored her smooth ability to play on words in ways that make you pause and think. She performs her poems with passion and a confidence that captures your attention throughout.
In this spoken word poem she speaks on the supposed “need” of a relationship, a pressure many men and women feel today. The poem breaks down what this unspoken pressure resulted in including desperation, settling and compromising on boundaries just to “fit in” and appear loved.
The humour in the poem makes the performance and delivery light hearted, but I believe viewers take away a powerful message that should encourage them not to conform to society’s expectations and timelines of a relationship. Instead, men and women should be encouraged to allow true love to be revealed and nurtured in their lives.
My favourite lines of the poem was a clickable moment, leaving audience members laughing and snapping their fingers.
“So I took matters into my own hands and… ended up with him. him, who displayed the characteristics of a cheater, a liar, an abuser, and a thief.
So why was I surprised when he broke into my heart?” - Janette...IKZ
Ezekiel Azonwu is a fellow poet, performer and member of a collective called PIA (Poets In Autumn).
I adore this performance because of the symbolism and significance that it carries. At first, the viewer is presented with a mere bridezilla, a woman unprepared and frustrated ahead of her wedding day.
Later, we watch as the symbolism and deeper meanings carefully unfold throughout. As the viewer is left stunned to reflect on what has been revealed in the poem.
The performance aspect of this poem is what I enjoy most. I love seeing how the makeup, costume, design and above all the acting, come together to produce a beautiful theatrical experience.
Isaac Wimberly is a poet, pastor and worship leader. I first came across his work listening to some music on YouTube when this particular poem was performed at the end of the song.
The spoken word poem is one of my favourites to date. It is a heartfelt declaration that expresses his love and admiration for God. Many times, the poem has brought tears to my eyes because of how deeply I relate to the words spoken. It provides a sense of encouragement and awe at being able to enjoy the presence of God. With the bold declarations at the end of the poem sharing true faith in Jesus Christ!
“So it’s not just words that I proclaim For my words point to the Word And the Word has a name Hope has a name Joy as a name Peace has a name Love has a name And that name is Jesus Christ Praise His name forever.” - Isaac Wimberly
I hope you’ve found some new poets and spoken word artists to tune into through this post! In future, I may do another post with specific themes (e.g. Christian poets, inspirational spoken word artists, etc) but for now this has just been a random blend of what I enjoy watching! And I hope you have too.
As the English and Drama graduate that I am, I too love having the opportunity to perform and showcase my poems so I’ve included a short clip below to give you guys more of a glimpse into Words of Faith.
It wouldn’t be a Words of Faith blog post if I didn’t make mention of myself somewhere right? And it doesn’t get better than free poetry promo on your own blog. If I don’t first support myself who will? But anyways... In this video, I performed one of my favourite poems at an event held by TOB ministries in Birmingham.
‘Fear’ is about recognising the power that this emotion has if left unchecked. It’s about refusing to feed into the lies of the enemy which leave us anxious, insecure and immobile. It’s about challenging yourself to reflect on the areas of your life that may have unknowingly been paralysed by fear. Ultimately, the poem is to encourage us not to let irrational fears stop us from doing those things we truly desire. The poem is to combat fear.
So as they say, ‘feel the fear and do it anyway.’