My Thoughts on Spoken Word Poetry

I really enjoy spoken word. It’s entertaining and I acknowledge how much courage it takes to present one’s self in-front of a crowd only to grasp their attention by only with his/her voice. I also acknowledge how much influence spoken word is in hip-hop. Hip-hop is my favorite genre of music and most of hip-hop is spoken word but just with a beat behind it. I liked the film we watched on spoken word, Louder Than a Bomb (2011). It felt good seeing the kids making the best out of their situation, by coming to this class everyday and doing what it takes to preform at the spoken word event that was held. May sound obvious, but throughout watching Louder Than a Bomb, I learned that the amount of work one puts into something will always show at the end. I don’t know of any spoken word poets but I have seen some live throughout my life. Watching is one thing but like with most, seeing is its own thing. One of the things I remembered when I saw a live spoken word performance was not just the poet, but the audience’s reaction to the poet. The poet I saw put so much pain in his piece it had some individuals tearing up and most faces with a sense of sympathy.


Your papers and your final grades

Hi everyone,

One last reminder that you can still post Blog Post #3 until midnight tonight to receive extra credit!  You can also post comments to Blog Post #3.  The deadline for posting vocabulary words has passed.  

Starting January 2, I will have graded Paper #2 and you may pick it up in the English Department (Namm 512). You should ask the department secretary, Ms. Lily Lam, and she will return it to you.  Office hours are Monday through Friday, 9 to 5 pm.  The phone number is 718-260-5392.

I am hoping to have final grades posted in CUNYFirst by the end of the weekend.  If you want a breakdown of your final grade (or to know your grade on the final exam), please email me at once your final grade is posted.

Final grade calculation:

Paper #1: 20%
Paper #2: 20%
Midterm exam: 10%
Final exam:15%
Quizzes, classwork, participation:10%
Open Lab Work: 25% (10 vocabulary words, 2 required blog posts, 3 required comments; Blog Post #3 counts as extra credit and erases a failing vocabulary quiz grade)

Here’s my poet website that we looked at in class today:

Wishing you all a restful January–I really enjoyed our class this semester.


Part of speech: verb


1.  Behave in an immoral, corrupt, or sordid way.

Source: Oxford Dictionary

Found in “Pop goes Korea” by Franny Choi, line 54, twelfth stanza.

“Seoul Bo-peeps and OGs/ ‘Til it’s all out of glow-tweets and clone sleaze”

Choi anthropomorphize the capital of Korea, Seoul, as a hip and modern city, but its ultimately just copying much of its behavior, good and bad, from other cities. As the poem talks about the rapid globalization of South Korea, she compares this growth to a sort of high which will come to a sudden crash once the nation reaches the end of it.


Part of speech: noun


1. A rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause.

1.1. A solemn patriotic song officially adopted by a country as an expression of national identity.

Source: Oxford Dictionary

Found in “Pop goes Korea” by Franny Choi, line 14, third stanza.

“And six sugarplum makeup stores all in a row/ One of which is just called ‘The Face Shop’/ All of which are blasting the same Top 40 super-synth laser fantasy playground anthem”

What Choi is referencing as “Top 40 super-synth laser fantasy playground anthem” isn’t simply just any top 40 music, but specifically the top 40 music in Korea, which is usually Korean pop, or K-pop.  The poem examines the rapid commercialization and globalization of Korean culture, which arguably gained traction due to the popularity of K-pop, still one of the most popular Korean entertainment consumed worldwide. Choi compares K-pop to an anthem since it is one of the widest known representation of modern Korea, it might as well be what the new nation identifies with.


Part of speech: noun


1. Required or expected to justify actions or decisions; responsible.

2.  Able to be explained or understood.

Source: Oxford Dictionary

Found in “Field Trip to the Museum of Human History” by Franny Choi, line 17, ninth stanza

“In place of modern-day accountability practices,/ the institution known as “police” kept order”

The poem explores police brutality through the view of people raised in a society where polices do not exist. Choi only references what replaced the police’s role of law enforcement as “accountability practices”.While vague, it suggests that the system revolves around people holding themselves accountable for their wrongdoings rather than an institution like the police.


Part of speech: noun

Definition:  A police officer’s truncheon.

Source: Oxford Dictionary

Found in “Field Trip to the Museum of Human History” by Franny Choi, line 9, fifth stanza

a “nightstick,” so called for its use/ in extinguishing the lights in one’s eyes.”

I don’t have much experience with law enforcement so didn’t know what a night stick was. I first assumed the word nightstick meant a flashlight or some sort of device used to blind people by the context of the poem. Knowing it’s actually another word for the club policemen carries give the following line a much darker context since its not speaking of policemen blinding people literally, but explaining how they would “knock someone’s light out”, beat them till they were unconscious.


Part of speech: noun

Definition: The process of claiming something back or of reasserting a right.

Source: Oxford Dictionary

Found in “Hair” by Elizabeth Acevedo, line 19

“Hair, a reclamation.”

Acevedo’s poem revolves around the wider topic of racial aggression and view and reveals how small these offenses by talking about one topic, her hair. She speaks of how black hair, specifically her kinky curls,  are seen as wild and something to be fixed while revealing the wider cultural issue that lead to these view such as how black people are pressured to ‘whiten’ themselves. So when Acevedo says “Hair, a reclamation” she means she’s asserting her pride towards her hair and asserting her position against racist offenses that claims her hair is something that needs to be fixed.

My Thoughts on Spoken Word Poetry

Spoken word poetry is something I see more often now than written poetry, but I don’t have a preference really, it depends on mood and what my mind thinks I need. There are more lounges people go to perform or listen to hear those works of art. In the documentary we watched in class “ louder than a bomb”  it showed me a lot of different styles of spoken word and how serious and important it is to a lot of individuals. Spoken word gave a lot of those student hope and a coping mechanism. A pen to a paper to express how they felt and let the world know how they felt. Expressing how much they go through, to dreams and aspirations, to things people just don’t want to discuss. I use to write poetry when I needed a way to calm down but didn’t want to tell anyone at the moment. I applaud them for the courage to go in front of audience and share their work, it could be intimidating sometimes.

I view rap as a way of poetry as well from different artist like Tupac, Floetry, and H.E.R artist from different decades some from rap and some for R&B backgrounds. From Tupac’s keep your head up and H.E.R  songs pigment and against me, and Floetry’s say yes ; it’s all poetry and it’s raw with a touch of melodies behind it. It’s excited to see poetry incorporated in rap, I also liked how it was depicted in the movie ” Love Beats Rhymes”.

My Thoughts on Spoken Word Poetry

Spoken word poetry is one of my favorite forms of poetry so when I knew it was going to be taught i was excited. My favorite spoken word poem that we reading class was Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Hair” It’s a poem that speaks about the beauty standards of Latina women and that straigtening hair their hair to look more like people outside of their culture is “Whitening” I didn’t connect with this poem personally but there are plenty of women out here today that feel like they have to live up to or be in tuned with some kind of standard thats placed on that. When it comes to spoken word and older kinds of texts, I prefer older text. I like the vintage feel that comes with older text and I’m interested in the type of vocabulary that they use. Like Emily Dickinsons we grow accustomed to the dark. Spoken word just feels a lil to modern to me cause thats what it mostly speaks on, recent matters.

I don’t really think I’d be able to preform spoken word because I don’t really have a loud voice, so all that yelling will definitly tire me out after a few words. I do feel like I’d be able to write it though, and have someone more fit preform it for me. One spoken word poet that i Know of is one of my previous teachers. He wrote really good spoken word poems and is actually the person who made me gain interest in the whole style. He doesn’t have anything online though unfortunately. I feel as though spoken word poetry closely connects to the sub-genre of hip-hop battle rap. It’s like a more aggressive form of spoken word where your more getting at the other person than you are speaking on a crucial matter.


Part of Speech- Noun

Definition- a foreigner, especially a person of Philippine, Korean, or Vietnamese descent.


“Choi Jeong Min” by Franny Choi

In the poem, the speaker talks about how when her name is being called out, it gets butchered since it is a “gook” foreign name.