Blog Overview:

Speech is a powerful tool that can be used to persuade, defend, communicate, manipulate, and more. Either the words being spoken, the tone and enthusiasm that they're spoken with, or both can be used to intrigue listeners. Politicians often use strategies to gain support of those who won't necessarily agree with the actual words being spoken. Poets, on the other hand, may convince readers without spoken word and simply through the elegance of their writing. Slam poetry, however, is arguably the most influential form of speech. When talented speakers convey powerful language, they seem to create the most impact. This blog will explore the influences of speeches in shaping history; specifically, the significance of poetry in bringing about change.

Questions being discussed in this blog...
What characteristics do persuasive speakers have? How has speech influence the course of history? How do politicians use speech to convey ideas and gain support? How has poetry been used to bring about change? Is speech a more powerful weapon than those that kill?

General Information

Background Info
      It is believed that poetry, in it's earliest form, was used as a memory tool to remember historical occurances, laws, and genealogy. When it originated, poetry was completely oral and either told rythmically or sung. It wasn't until years later that poetry was recorded in writing.  Despite this lapse of time, written poetry has still been around for a very long time. The "Vedas" is a large body of textual poetry from ancient India. It was inscribed around 1700 BC. Since then, poetry has evolved. Protest poetry is somewhat of a newer concept, although it's roots date back to the beginning of writing. Beliefs have been a common subject of poetry for years, but recently poetry focusing on personal opinion is very popular. In the U.S. this is most likely due to the freedom of speech that all citizens have. Throughout certain periods in U.S. history, specific types of poetry have been popular. Protest poetry, a main focus of this blog, has been especially popular around war times, elections, and quests for freedom. Today, the use of poetry for advocative purposes is common not only in the U.S, but also many other countries.

Interesting Articles/ Videos

This article by Yemi Adewuyi explores the similarities between lobbyists and slam poets. Slam poetry combines the art of poetic words with the power of spoken speech. This site explains how the combination of these two skills can cause a reaction. Specifically, this article focuses on protesting against or calling for change within politics.

This article by Graham Collier is specifically about speech and the charcteristics of a good speaker. It's a website that primarily focuses on psychology and therefore provides a good explanation of the effects powerful speech can have on humans.

This is an article by Adam O'Riordan. The main purpose of the text is to explain the role of poetry in politics, specifically protesting.  Not only are modern day examples given, but historical protest poetry is included as well. The focus of this article is not solely on the US, but instead on other countries as well.

Maya Angelou recites poem at presidential inauguration.

Maya Angelo is a famous poet, known for her outspoken personality and influential writing. This video shows her reciting one of her poems at a crucial time in politics.

Advocating for change through poetry.

This is a poem by Anna Barbauld, calling for an end to slavery. At the time it was written, slavery was a hugely controversial issue and thus, this poem was victim to intense scrutinization.

Slam poetry used to speak out.

This is an article about young Arab women going against their conservative culture and speaking out through slam poetry. This gives you a perfect example of the power of protest poetry and speech combined.

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