Spoken word opened my eyes to a new form of art and storytelling. All of the poems and artists below touch my heart because they are fierce and they are courageous.

In the face of inner turmoil and personal struggle, these people picked themselves up, pen in hand. They faced their demons, abolished them, immortalized their slain dragons in verse.

Someday I, too, hope to be a warrior of verse. One of gentleness and strength. Of recognizing when to weep and when to celebrate, and when to capture each moment to the page.

As I look to there for inspiration for jump-start my spoken word journey, here are five of my favorite pieces for your enjoyment. Get ready — coffee in hand, heart expectant — to hear life lessons in love and pain from these masters of the craft.

1. Sarah Kay — “If I Should Have a Daughter”

“Because I wish the backs of my hands were painted to look like galaxies, and that when boys with harsh shoulders and narrow minds came around, smelling of smoke, I had rain boots and chocolate to remind me that everything is going to be okay, in the end.”

2. Phil Kaye  — “Suburbia”

“Because I grew up in suburbia, and when I left, the feeling – the strange freedom –  was beautiful. Moving back to an urban area after ten years of living in the country seems foreign, almost imperfect, and not quite what I expected. Leave me out of suburbia. Keep me far, far away.”

3. Harry Baker — “A Love Poem for Lonely Prime Numbers”

“Because numbers that love each other are a little bit odd, and odds add up to more than evens. A love poem to all of the fifty-nines who have fallen for sixties.”

4. Suli Breaks — “Why I Hate School But Love Education”

“Because the best learning doesn’t happen behind a desk. College is about what you’ve done here, who you’ve meet, not what you’ve studied in a library at one in the morning.”

5. Savannah Brown — “Skinny Girls Bleed Flowers”

“Because I was once a skinny girl, stomach bleeding sunflowers. Pollen on my sternum and tears on my chin. It gets better — if you survive.”