Many things can be learned from the reading of a poet’s work. Their style, their purpose, their form, and their word choice all fall into a distinctive voice that is left caught in your mind seconds after the last word of the last line leaves your lips. That is when social justice poetry has the most power. When it is spoken. You can read a poem out loud and feel the frustrations of the author channelled into these letters. You have to work to get it out, and they form their poems in a way that make you think about what you’re saying as you speak it. That is when the issue comes alive. When you speak it aloud, when it can not be hidden or ignored. And that is how changes are made. Someone hears the words and takes steps to make fight the problems the voice is speaking against. Reading social justice poetry has helped me make a connection not just with a poet and their work, but a society and its problems. Reading social justice poetry has helped me reach back into the dark past of this country and understand the influence of one man’s work. Reading social justice poetry has helped me better comprehend the importance of form and given me further insights into the craft of writing. Next time you see a poem regarding a social issue, read it aloud. You might be doing a favor to more than just yourself. Let other people listen. Let them understand. Let them help.