Spoken-Word Poets Bring Words to Life for Students
Educators, YouTube revive ancient art
Thousands of years ago, the ancient Greeks recited epic poems aloud. Actors have breathed life into Shakespeare’s soliloquies since the 16th century. Now, a pair of poet-educators are working to bring the rich art of spoken-word poetry to students from kindergarten to graduate school.
“The powerful and important thing about spoken word is, it doesn’t matter what the words look like on paper,” said Sarah Kay, a poet and the founder of a nonprofit organization that brings spoken-word poetry to schools. “It’s about what it sounds like when you say it out loud.”
While poetry long has been a staple of K-12 English classes, spoken-word poetry, an art form that extends from the beat poetry of the 1950s to contemporary rap, is less commonly taught. But Ms. Kay and other educators who have worked with her organization believe that kind of poetry may be especially well-suited to connecting with young people at an emotional level, making traditional poetry more accessible to students, and...
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