New Year’s Resolutions for Spoken Word Poets

You could decide to write a book, go on tour, win a slam, or run a gig. All awesome things to make resolutions for and some of you probably will. But there are a few forgotten resolutions that spoken wordsters can make to make their 2018 in spoken word extra special for everyone.

Stop apologising
If you need to explain a bit about your poem, do some preamble before reading it on the open mic, do so, but do so quickly, but make it your resolution this year to not apologise or sell your work short before you show us the poem. Don’t apologise for not having memorised it, don’t apologise for first drafts, or if you think people won’t get it. You sell yourself short before anyone’s given a chance to realise how dope your writing is. Own the space. It’s your turn on stage. You deserve it just as much as anyone else.

Tell a poet you liked their work
Someone’s just poured their heart on stage, they’ve probably said a line that your ear twinkles because it gives you chills but you’ve never heard anyone say anything in that way before. You might whisper to your mate, “holy shit, that was good,” or join the chorus of applause but go and tell the poet who read the poem, especially if they’re new or you’ve never seen them before. You don’t know but your words could be something they really needed to hear.

Go to a gig you’ve never been to before
With thirty-five or so regular gigs in Melbourne, you’re bound to have not gotten to them all. That gig you’ve seen advertised but none of your friends go to so you think you won’t know anyone…go to that one. Bring your friends. If it’s on the other side of town, get a carpool together and go check it out. Check out that gig where you don’t know who the feature is. Read the poem you’ve read a million times already to a new audience. If you say you don’t write slam poetry, enter a slam.

If you’re at a gig you always go to and see someone or a few people you haven’t seen before, go talk to them, they might have just read this post.

Photo by Margaret Coulter

Annie Solah