Breaking the rules: Slam Poetry & How to write about people

One thing that I love about poetry is breaking the rules of society. Whether it be: talking about people, criticizing politics, talking about things other people avoid like sex, drugs, failure, parents etc cetera.



This kind of poetry is usually written and performed in what is called “Slam Poetry.” Before posting my last post I thought that Slam Poetry was a very popular type of poetry but it apparently is not. It is usually a way for poets to compete with each other and get judged on their written work, however there is a type of poem that is usually performed. That type is typically something the poet/performer is very passionate about.

For example, in the video above, the young woman is talking about Breast Cancer. She is expressing her personal fears and struggles while criticizing the societal norms associated with Breast Cancer. Her use of imagery and creative style is what makes it such powerful poetry. I thought this was a great example of slam poetry.


Writing about people and circumstances in poetry is one of the hardest things to do. If you publish your writing to a blog or a youtube account, knowing someone will see it (potentially the person you wrote about) then you have to prepare yourself for some backlash. I found this out the hard way. And although nothing serious happened to me, it did put a strain on some relationships I had at the time.
If you are going to write about someone and publish it on your blog I would suggest four things:
1. Don’t use their name(s)
2. Don’t tell them you have a blog
(then they’re less likely to check it)
3. Don’t use too many specifics
4. Just don’t write about them

Writing about people is more about getting things off of your chest and venting, so talk about how the person makes you feel rather than who they are and what they did. Poetry is a very personal thing. Utilize your feelings and inner thoughts as fuel for your work. Two really good ways to accomplish this is to use metaphors when describing the person or your feelings.


The Whiskey Writer

I hope this was helpful for you guys, if you want, feel free to check out my blog on the side of the blog labeled “Personal Poetry.” I write about people and experiences all the time, so feel free to see how I do it and comment if you have any questions! 

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