Poetry: Performance Art or Written Piece

by Rea Mae S. Solano and Rexelle Bless L. Velasco

Poetry, in general and in its simplest definiton, is a composition that conveys one’s ideas, emotions and experiences in an artistically manner. With this being said, two forms of poetry evolved from their ancient forms and made their way into our hearts and souls today; spoken word poetry and page poetry or written poetry. The difference of the two mentioned above, according to Kijiner (2014) is that, “One is written with the intention of being performed, or spoken aloud, while the other is written specifically for the page.” Spoken word poetry differs in a way that the poet composed his/her piece with the audience in mind, their reaction and engagement. Also, elements of performance such as gesture, facial expression and projection are included to evoke intense emotion from the listeners.

“Page poetry can be quite illusive and difficult to engage with, but spoken word is out, and it’s saying it, and it’s entertaining without shying away from difficult subjects”. This quote from Amy Wragg quite explains why spoken word poetry is intersubjective in nature. It allows people to express their feelings in a more interactive manner. As for the audience, it is way easier to understand the underlying message and emotion based on the delivery of the piece by the performer. Although spoken word poetry like any other poetry uses the aesthetic of rhymes and rhythms, it could be inferred that it is a hybrid of all poems for it allows interaction from one person to another rather than a person to a piece of paper.

Poems in general are characterized by the use of words to create rhythm and rhymes. And the same concept is applicable to spoken word poetry. Only that in this form of poetry it is more than merely the construction of phrases and sentences but more importantly the oral aspect of the performance. These include diction, pronunciation, intonation, tone and the likes. Furthermore, performers also have to make sure that there is a connection between them and the audience leaving no room for open-ended interpretation as compared to to written poetry. Moreover, in spoken word poetry the meaning is understood and their audience would feel the emotions and thoughts that they want to elicit.


Guy, R. (2016). Retrieved August 20, 2018, from. https://rosguy.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/spoken-word-vs-traditional-written-poetry/amp/

Jaccoud, A. (n.d.) What is spoken word. Retrieved from https://www.spoken-word.ch/en/what-is-spoken-word. Retrieved August 20, 2018

Kijiner, K. J. (2014). Spoken word poetry vs page poetry. Retrieved from https://www.google.com.ph/amp/s/jkijiner.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/spoken-word-poetry-vs-page-poetry/amp/

Mitchell, G. (2016). What is spoken word poetry and why it is so powerful? Retrieved from http://www.ipswichstar.co.uk/what-s-on/what-is-spoken-word-poetry-and-why-is-it-so-powerful-1-4741249