Spoken word poetry has always gotten something of bad rap. Ask anyone to imagine what the average spoken word poet looks like, and they’ll conjure up images of turtlenecked, beret wearing hipsters snapping their fingers while making unbearably cringe metaphors. But the truth is that spoken word as a genre, and indeed less formal poetry conventions makes poetry more far more accessible than the traditional written word. It often has the effect of elevating the subject matter, by creating a space for the poet to be vulnerable and physically embody their message in a way that traditional poetry cannot.
Spoken word artists sometimes blend music with their poems to give them an added punch. There’s a fantastically rich tradition of queer spoken word artists with amazing, emotive messages that have created and are still creating art and weaving beautiful tales about LGBT+ experiences. So to prove our point, HISKIND have rounded up some of our favourite queer spoken word poems. These poems blend everything from the banal and the mundane to the radical and even humorous. Grab some headphones, sit back and enjoy our some great examples of this truly special genre.
“Three Frenzied Days” – Staceyann Chin
Standout quote: “I am armed with the knowledge and the responsibility of this: my chosen exile.”
“Confessions of an Uneducated Queer” – Lauren Zuniga
Standout quote: “This is for the first time I heard the word heteronormative and felt like I was handed a corkscrew after years of opening the bottle with my teeth.”
“Box” – Ebony Stewart
Standout quote: “There is no cross and skull bones over your heart––You are a good thing.”
“White Fetish” – DarkMatter
Standout quote: “I want to map the lines in your palm to the lines you drew in Africa.”
“Black Bones and Cycles” – Travis Alabanza
Standout quote: “A Ghanaian woman complimented me on my head-wrap while I was walking down the street. She said I look nice, but I heard “We will get each other through the day.” She said “nice” but i heard that she was willing us both to survive.”
“Witch Hunt” – A.W.
Standout quote: “I can’t explain to my mother that her casual homophobia is ripping holes in all of my sweaters, and I am always shivering.”