Tuesday, February 13

$0.02 on poetry; or, you get what you pay for

I am your trickster rabbit
I accept this role in society as
with gracious humility
I will wreak havoc forever on you all
I will shit on the table of my host
while singing grateful praises of the meal
I will bleed the hand that bites me

I am trickster rabbit
the crusader of rags
I will rewrite all the messages on your fortune
cookies
instructing you to dial ecstasy for the
dialectic
I am the furry little clawed foot
you keep in your back pocket
the one that cuts deep into your butt
every time you sit down

-from Roland Legiardi-Laura's "Trickster Rabbit"

This is a poem that reminds me of another one ocho wrote. I have what might seem to be counter-intuitive, a book of slam poetry. It's in a select category of books that I bought just before the last time I moved and never finished reading because I lost track of how to read them once I was in a new place.

We've talked a few times about the conventions of slam poetry, and what's conventional. There's the posturing persona ones, with a lot of I am's in it. There are narrative ones. There are ones based on jazz or other musical forms.

playmingusplayplaymingusmysticmingusdivine
fingersmingus
mingusprettyfingersmingusplayplay
mingusplayplaymegodmingusmyselfgodplay
mysticdivine
playmysticprettymingusgodplaymy
selfmingusmyselfdivinemingusmysticfingersgod

--from R. Cephas Jones' "God, Mingus and Myself"

What are the other conventions? I think that the usefulness of the forms and conventions is the same as stretching and different types of workouts, if you want to continue the analogy to running. It's not like you run your race in intervals. It's not like you expect that a poem you write forcing your round poem into square linebreaks is the one you're going to perform. But trying out different forms could be interesting. You might find something you like. You might just find more poets you like as you look for more forms. You might just find yourself having written a phrase you wouldn't have written otherwise.


1 Comments:

Blogger ocho said...

I'm reminded a bit of a conversation I had with the poet Scott Cairns.

He said that when he was a young poet, he sat down to write poems. And often spent an hour or so staring at his notebook.

As he got older though he would block out time to read poets and if he got inspired during that time so much the better and he would write. But he gained from the process of having read good poets in the first place.

My point is, one, your (or my) poetry is consciously or not a reflection of your (or my) influences, your community of poets that you associate with.

Thus who are some poets I should read? What are some exercises I should do? Thirdly, what are some exercises I should do? Or did I just ask that question?

February 14, 2007 6:33 PM  

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