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May 10, 2012 / Sez

A Formal Education (Poetry Form 58: Battle Rap)

Something a bit different today.

I decided to have a go at writing in the style of a rap battle. You’ll see why.

What? You think my poetry doesn’t keep it real

That I don’t  speak or feel the real freakin’ deal because I know

What iambic pentameter is?

Because my poetry isn’t amateur diss after amateur diss?

You think my obsession with form is so special, abnormal,

That it’s forced and divorced from emotion? Of course

I went on a course where I learned all my stresses and feet

Never earned any rhythms or beats

Spitting rhymes on the street

I must have read it in a book

So I get funny looks

Cos I went and I took

Inspiration from my poor little not-that-rich girl formal education

Which was real to me

My reality

I was raised on plays by Shakespeare,

Lays from the past years,

Verse that changes gears and charms the ears and calms the fears

And all you do is jeer

Because my poetry doesn’t speak to you?

Why don’t YOU read a book!

Who the fuck

Do you think Shakespeare wrote for?

For rich and for poor during peace during war

Will would shoot and he’d score.

Cause his verses said more

Than the lessons you slept through in school

Because you were too cool.

So you closed up your ears

And your jeers hid your fears

Of poets who’ve been keeping it real

For hundreds of years.

So yes I see the beauty in forms

As you pour on your scorn

Say you prefer free flowing verse without even knowing the worst:

This too is a verse form?

The internal rhymes, the syncopation

Allow me to improve your education!

Your battle rap rhymes are as formal as any normal sonnet, sestina,

vilannelle, virelai,

rondeau, rondine, rondel, roundel, roundelay,

haiku, haiburn, hajaz or  horatian ode.

They’re not some secret code

They’re a heartbeat

A smart beat

You can’t treat as elitist no more

Because whatever you thought before

You know now

That these forms aren’t just mine

They are yours.


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