Monday, April 20, 2015

Kate on spoken word poetry // guest post

Well friends, it has been a long time since my last post. The dreaded writer's block has hit me rather hard (accompanied by a sizeable stack of homework and work-work and assignments and courses and recerts, and other things of an equally gross nature.) But be happy! Because in the interim - and in honour of April being poetry month - I've invited the lovely Kate from the goodness revolt to share some of her thoughts about my favourite style of poetry; spoken word.
Make sure you leave Kate a comment, because her post is pretty spectacular, and go check out her lovely blog by following the link above! 


First off, huge thank you to the stellar miss Olivia who asked me to do this guest post. She's dang awesome, and an amazing writer. (this here is one of my favorite blogs, so you all are in good hands) Olivia asked if I could chat a bit about the poetry I write, so now for a bit about that:

When I was younger, I thought poetry had to rhyme in order to be “legit” poetry. I read poems by people who always wrote them in-rhyme and I thought they were beautiful and flowing and awesome. So needless to say, when I started penning my own poems, as a wide-eyed, wild-haired ten year old, they *had* to rhyme. They were poems after all, right?

It wasn't until I was in my late teens that I started getting into just writing pieces that just flowed purely from my heart; things that were big and real and had so much “YES” to their essence, but didn't necessarily rhyme at all.

So I threw all preconceived ideas about what poetry should be to the wind, and started writing whatever felt good to me.

In fact, now the biggest advice I think I could ever give another writer is just have fun. Have fun with what you're writing-- whether its fiction or non-fiction or poetry or essays-- whatever it is, enjoy it. It's art. Your art.

That was probably the thing that clinched it for me about spoken word and slam poetry: it's fun to write. It has no restrictions, its very freeing, and it communicates in ways that perhaps other modes of writing can't. It has story to it, like fiction; but rhythm like songs-- it has a beat to it.

Being a fiction writer, and being used to communicating stories in my writing, I've found that spoken word and poetry actually come naturally. Poetry tells stories-- sometimes maybe even better than a novel. *la gasp*

I know, I know. Shocking.

But the truth is, sometimes our stories find their home in the shorter, more humbler things. Sometimes we don't need to dedicate ourselves to a full-length book to communicate an idea, sometimes it might find its life and breath in poetry, or a song, or something you just speak out.

So for me, finding that connection was huge. Writing spoken word poems like A Love Letter to Me, You, Everyone and most recently Girl Shaped Star, give me a breath of fresh air, and oftentimes pump fresh life and ideas into my larger projects, like my novels.

The concept behind the concept, so to speak, is to try new things. Step out of comfort zones, reach further, make “glorious mistakes” as Neil Gaiman put it in that brilliant commencement speech of his.

There are no rules to art-- only you can make your art. So just jump in recklessly and fully and enjoy every single little bit-- every last drop.

Kate, thank you so much for putting this post together!! (isn't she fantastic? I've included a link to one of her poems - which you should go listen to RIGHT NOW - and the location of her blog again JUST IN CASE you missed it the first time. We wouldn't want that, would we?)

listen to Kate's poem, Girl Shaped Star
visit Kate's blog! Go do it! Right now!

Have you ever tried your hand at spoken word poetry? I'd love to hear your thoughts! (also, any tips for getting out of the blogging block??)



  1. I love this so much, Kate. I always wish I could write poetry. I have friends who do, but I just... can't. When I was younger I would try to write something flowery and poetic, but then my sisters would find it and tell me it all sounded really stupid (which I realize now was pretty true, but at the time I was crushed), so I have long given up on any dreams of being a poet. I stick to little bits of fiction, not poetry exactly, but not complete stories either. That's what I love writing most at this point.
    Again, great post! And I hope you, Olivia, get back on track with all your crazy school and such. I totally feel you, I have four more weeks of my schoolwork and I feel as if it's going to kill me!

    1. Thanks, Hannah!! And here's hoping we both manage to survive until summer! haha. :)

  2. Lovely post! I also grew up thinking that poetry had to fit in the laws of rhyme and meter. I discovered spoken word poetry through Sarah Kay's TED talk and fell absolutely in love. There is something so freeing about being about to explore the way words can hold and pour emotions without any rules or limitations.

  3. Ahh! Kate is awesome, and this post is awesome. I loved the line: "Sometimes our stories find their home in the shorter, more humbler things."

  4. thank you so much for your sweet words, Olivia! You're a rock star, you know that? <3 so honored to guestpost!

    & thank you all!


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