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An introduction to performance poetry

Image: Sabrina Mahfouz (

I know straight from the title of this post that some people will switch off (perhaps I should have got more creative with the title). This is one art form that people may easily presume wouldn't be for them.

Other than in an educational context I'd never sought out poetry, or indeed performance poetry, until recently. It's not familiar and it sounds as if it might be a bit pretentious.

A video was passed onto me, and quickly I became obsessed with this art form I'd so quickly dismissed before.

Turns out it packs a punch and is most definitely for me, and anyone. It's more accessible than you'd think. It's also exciting and addictive - and I'm now trying to seek out local live platforms for this kind of work.

So yes, here, in bitesize forms, is some performance poetry. The beauty of YouTube being that you can try out things like this. See what you think.

On a bit of a tangent, that's why I loved that Attraction won Britain's Got Talent. If you read in a venue brochure that an act involved shadow dance/puppetry, you'd probably run a mile. Presented in two-minute form on this scale - they won over the nation. Without words, they told a story and broke plenty of hearts, including mine.

This made me think of the virtue of free/festival drop-in type events for these sorts of "risk-taking" art forms. You might not book or investigate something like this off your own back, but after a taster you may well be onboard.

Anyway, a few performers that I'd like to share...

Taylor Mali - Depression Too Is A Type Of Fire

Shared this before a while back but worth sharing again. I guess this was the first piece of performance poetry I saw and loved.

Sabrina Mahfouz

My absolute favourite performance poet - really embracing the performance side of things. She first came to my attention with her No More Page 3 Campaign Poem which I shared in a previous post.

Toilet Break - encapsulating a women's toilets in a nightclub.

First Night - Sabrina's experience of working in a strip club.

Molly Case - Nursing The Nation

This poem was performed at the RCN's Congress by Molly, a second year student nurse. It is a beautifully articulated passionate plea on behalf of nurses, and the absolutely brilliant work they do.

Hollie McNish - Cupcakes or Scones

Phil Kaye - Repetition

Sarah Kay - Postcards

So there is a little taster of some performance poetry.

I also think this kind of work would surely appeal to teenagers in education. Perhaps as a more accessible way into poetry - more inspiring in terms of getting creative yourself, rather than just poets from centuries past.

Anyway, I'm still only beginning to explore this medium, and seeing who is out there - so if you have any recommendations please do let me know.


  1. YAY! Performance poetry! Literally my favourite art form, here are some more you should defo check out babes:


  2. Actually changed my mind cos the second I sent that I had a whole new wave of amazing stuff I've been dying to share with someone:


  3. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I can watch the hottest virtual strippers on my taskbar.


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