How To Write Slam Poetry — 5 Tips

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Have you ever paused back on your work only to find yourself stuck in composing your slam poems? Is it because you don’t focus enough? Or is it just you being shallow? No matter what your case is, this quick and useful checklist will keep you in line when learning how to write slam poetry.


In this article:

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  1. Be Original in Your Messages
  2. Cater to the Scene ​
  3. Paint Vivid Pictures with Imagery
  4. Be Concrete to Hit the Audience in the Gut
  5. Stick to a Purpose

How to Write Slam Poetry With These 5 Tips:​

Be Original in Your Messages

Slam poetry is a forum for people who may haven’t realized they can stand up, have their own voice, and project their message. 

It’s once in a blue moon that you attend a slam and feel bored. With slam poetry, you are empowered to deliver your thought-provoking and stimulating messages to the audience. 

And what makes an interesting piece is the powerful feeling it conveys on stage. Its originality will evoke the intrigue and fascination, which surprises and keeps the audience engaged. 

Learning how to write slam poetry from other poets is a good idea, but it’s worth being unique. Just be yourself with your own story. The attention will be all yours!

Cater to the Scene ​

Although the poem is yours, slam poetry does mean that you have to cater to the scene to a certain extent. 

You can identify your audience’s composition by looking at general indicators like venue and geographical location. 

Let’s say you’re going to perform in rural Nebraska. Social issues or something political that is native to New York City may not resonate well with your audience. 

Resort to diction, phrases, and jargon that ring true with whom you’re catering to. Otherwise, the crowd will have difficulty in trying to interpret one line, and the rest of your piece will, in the worst case, fall on deaf ears.

Paint Vivid Pictures with Imagery

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When poets want to address sadness in their pieces, some probably just mention “sad”, “feeling blue.” Think about doing so, but in a different way.

Instead, paint a picture of you sleeping on the street, wake up, look around and realize you’re starving and alone and crying without caring who is passing by on that street. You don’t need to use the word “sad.” The audience can feel it on their own!

Descriptive and vivid imagery are powerful tools to project honest emotion and paint a relatable scenario in the audience’s mind. Use this tool, and they will know what it’s like to walk in your shoes, to be a character in your story. 

Conveying emotion through imagery is an essential skill slam poets should pay careful attention to. Seclusion may be needed – personal time to pause back, reflect, and relive the moment. 

Practicing takes time but is worth the effort. Imagine someone comes to you after your performance, and they say, “you made me cry. I felt the same.” How rewarding that might be!

Be Concrete to Hit the Audience in the Gut

You’ve probably come across this scenario: in the middle of a debate or a normal conversation, someone said something so direct, so on point, so true, so blatant that everyone else involved was just like, “hell yeah. You’re right!”

How to write slam poetry to see that whole-hearted agreement from your audience? How to write slam poetry to see people tilt their heads and acknowledge that might be something they misunderstood or hadn’t thought of before? 

The answer is using concrete language. By using concrete language, you aim at the quality of being direct, not overly abstract, or cryptic. Slam poetry surely needs those ‘epiphany’ moments, and admittedly, they’re gratifying. 

When you want to say something, say it without hesitation. Be direct and hit the right note. The audience loves that.

Stick to a Purpose

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When asking yourself how to write slam poetry, you may wonder why you’re even composing and performing this art form? There are several reasons: 

  • You possess an everlasting love for poetry; 
  • Slam is a creative outlet that allows you to be yourself; 
  • You have a strong desire to touch lives and make a difference; 
  • You have a story or message to share, etc.

Most poets fall into these lines, but your reason may not. Nevertheless, having a reason means you’re heading to accomplish something you’re looking for. And the good news is you’re on the right track!

What makes slam poetry so attractive is that it removes the audience from their norm. Slam poetry is filtered by layers of perspectives, and composers have to delve deep into their subjects to open those thought-provoking viewpoints. Every poem is a journey, and that journey is created with a purpose. 

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Keeping a purpose in mind and sticking to it along the way will help you more focused on conveying your messages. It’s great to refer to your feelings and emotions. But relate those emotions to other aspects of your topics. Make connections. Make conclusions. 

Slam poetry is a great way to express yourself and deliver your messages to others. Keep these 5 tips above when writing your piece and be better in slam poetry!


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