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Alter Egos - I Am Done Watching This

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bringing the Corpse Back to Life

Folk Festival over and the audience had their asses kicked. I went overtime. Don’t think I’ve ever done that before. I usually bail out early. Then it was open mic. You know I’m wary of this whole thing. On one hand it encourages people to think about poetry, but darn it if Groff (Threatening to Kick the Audiences’ Ass) isn’t right. Some people get away with murder, others get accused and found guilty even though they brought the corpse back to life.

I used to stand up in an upstairs room at the International Bar in Dublin in the very early days and spout out my poetry (at a weekly event called Voicefree) at anyone who would listen or was forced to do so in order to get their moment. It gave me encouragement by way of the social aspect of meeting other writers, and this was a good thing, but truthfully most of what I read and most of what was read was woeful.

I guess that’s why some people like it - the hit and miss nature - but maybe that’s just an excuse. There is a fine balance between encouraging poetry and encouraging bad poetry. I think the whole poetry slam, read it aloud, open mic, talking crow thing teeters on a dangerous edge. Whoops, there goes rewriting and revision. Gee, didn’t that used to be form. Splat!

It’s tough. I’m with Groff and I’m against him. Poetry needs to take risks if it is to lead anywhere. Remember, as writers we are first and foremost explorers. Imagine if old Christopher C. had said, “Gee, I’m not too sure about those tall waves out there.” Nevertheless, good explorers find their way back home.

Yeah that’s it, I think. Too many ‘spoken word’ poets set out on an unexplored route, a perilous road, and are never heard from again.

Groff would probably think that was not such a bad thing. Maybe it’s time the audience kicked the writer’s ass.

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