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Poetry Rhythm: A Case Study using

Unite Us by Kosal Khieu

http://
www.readwritethink.org/files/resour
ces/30525_engA.pdf
http://www.readwritethink.org/files/
resources/30525_engB.pdf

Spoken Word Poetry


Spoken word is one form of poetry that
is specifically written to be performed.
Spoken word, performance poetry, and
slam poetry (spoken word performed
for a live audience as part of a
competition) often serves as a
universal, socially-charged voice.

Rhythm

A pattern of recurring stresses and


pauses.

What examples of rhythm did you


hear in Kosals work?

Meaningful words ride on the rhythm


like a boat on the turbulent seas.

Two Characteristics of Rhythm:


Flow and Cadence

Cadence

The intertwining of vocals with a beat


to the point where the two become
inseparable.

Cadence is like a ship bobbing


between waves, not leaving the
faintest hint of wake.

Count the number of syllables in your


name out loud.
Write your name down by syllable. For
example: Chel-sea
Try to write additional lines that rhyme
with the syllabic tempo of your name.

Cadence allows the beat to play an


equal part in conveying the message
of the song. Usually the end of the
phrases hit harder, giving the listener
a rest before going into the next
phrase.

Flow

Flow is the ability to master the


intricacies of a beat, exploiting the
beats structural and rhythmic
tendencies.

Poets manipulate beginnings and


endings in surprising ways to convey
their message. The rhythmic pattern
becomes secondary, a counterpoint,
creating a contrast with what is
expected as normal.

Listen to how the poet rhymes over


the beat, dropping syllables on the
offbeats, for examples of flow.

Through flow the poet takes ownership


of the beat. It is a bit like ducking in
and out of treacherous waters, which
makes the poem more interesting to
listen to.

Too much flow can make a poem too


difficult to follow, while too much
cadence can make it boring. A great
poet knows when to use the beat and
when to go offbeat to portray their
message.

Activity: Theme Web

isolation
Oppression
Loyalty
Sexism
Autonomy
Feminism
Justice
survival

How did Kosak Khieu use his own


personal experiences in his writing?

How is Kosal using this poem to


discuss pressing social issues that are
relevant today?

According to Kosal how do these issues


affect economic, social, and political
systems?

Discussion:
What are the 3 most serious social ills
threatening the health of your mind,
body, gender, race, home, community,
neighborhood, city, country, planet?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pp
R7s19c1RY