How to write a spoken word poem | Windrush Day 2020

Discover how to create your own spoken word poem in response to our collections. 

What is spoken word? 

Spoken word is a form of poetry that is written to be said and heard, rather than read. 

Many spoken word poems play with the sounds of words and the rhythms of language. 

Spoken word poetry focuses on intonation and inflection. 

Who was Olaudah Equiano?

Olaudah Equiano

Equiano was a writer and abolitionist. 

Equiano writes that he was born in Eboe, what is now modern day Nigeria. 

After being enslaved as a child Equiano was sold to a Royal Navy officer. As an adult Equiano was able to buy his freedom, and began to campaign for an end to slavery.

In 1789 Equiano published his book The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. It became an incredibly important piece of abolitionist literature. It went through eight different editions during Equiano's lifetime and was instrumental in the creation of the British Slave Trade Act 1807.

Buy The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings by Oluadah Equiano

Spoken word poetry and Windrush Day 

Caribbean communities have a diverse music and arts culture which was brought to Britain by Windrush communities.

This sparked an incredible fusion of British arts and music with Caribbean. 

There’s a musicality and rhythm to Caribbean speech which we can explore through spoken word. This makes it a great medium through which to share Windrush stories.

Find Windrush records in the National Maritime Museum collection

How to write a spoken word poem

1. Write your feelings down and research your subject matter. Do you have a theme or a topic? 

2. Put this into a structure. It doesn’t have to be linear, but think how your structure will impact people. 

3. Think about the performance of your poem.  You will want the words to flow into each other and fit together, so that it makes an impact.

Follow Tatiana on Twitter

Now write your own spoken word poem for Windrush Day 

Send us your poems via email, Twitter or Instagram

Find out more about Windrush Day 2020