The Voice of the Poem

One of the highlights of the last months is that I slammed at the Urban Legends Slam. I performed Ice Cream in the first round and received a high enough score to make the second round. For that, I performed Pass for Beautiful. It’s an exciting thing to put a poem out into the air for the first time. For Pass for Beautiful, I wasn’t sure exactly how to deliver it. I wanted it to be powerful. But over my years of performing and listening to spoken word, I’ve learned that power does not necessitate a loud volume. One poet whose delivery is just breath-taking is Suheir Hammad. you can hear her every word and while she rarely raises her  voice, you feel the power with which she delivers her message. When she does raise her voice, she has it in control and knows when to lower it again. She has her own style and knows it.

For Pass for Beautiful, I projected a little bit. The tone was a little more declarative than it was in my head as a wrote it and when I read it to myself.  I will work on it because I think this is one of those quietly strong poems. As I’ve tried to figure out how to perfectly deliver this and a few other poems, I’m learning that once a poem gets to know you well, and as you get to know it, it will speak to and through you in its own voice.

Here is Suheir:


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