Performance Poetry

Recently Liam (and by association, me as well) have been getting into watching performance poetry on Youtube. If you haven’t ever seen any before, a lot of it is really incredible.

A basic definition of performance poetry is essentially that it is a dramatised monologue. It acknowledges the audience, and from what I’ve gathered has very few other rules.

What I love about what I’ve seen and heard so far is that no matter the subject of the poetry, it is always injected with so much passion and so much emotion – some of the videos are genuinely incredibly moving and others are also truly eye-opening to thoughts and experiences that are foreign to me.

I wanted to share a few of the videos I’ve seen so far and really loved from the button poetry Youtube channel – I hope you enjoy them too.

Fair warning before you click play – this is nothing short of beautiful, but equally tragic too. I was really moved by this, and had Liam not been there watching my reaction to it, I’d probably have blubbed everywhere.

Another thing I love about performance poetry is that it’s a fascinating platform for sharing views and a willingness to change things, and the audience reaction suggests not only an agreement, but a shared sense that things should and can be different. This piece by Denice Frohman is a great example.

Despite being a big Harry Potter fan, and enjoying the books as a kid, Rachel Rostad makes a really strong and powerful point about the character of Cho Chang and the representation of Asian women in literature. There’s elements of humour mixed in with some hard truths.

Finally, I love this performance by Alex Dang because it’s so personal, but uses such poetic language. He tells a story with the drama it deserves and it’s inspiring to see someone be so transparent about their life experiences.


Performance poetry is pretty big in the US – it certainly exists here in the UK but not to the same extent at all. It’s taught in schools in America, and I honestly think it should be here too. It’s a really inspiring way of expressing yourself and sharing views and experiences that not only clearly prove to be therapeutic for the poets, but are likely also therapeutic for the listeners.

I definitely recommend checking out the Button Poetry Youtube page – and if you’re interested in seeing this sort of thing here in the UK, check out Apples & Snakes who put on Spoken Word events across the country. 

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