I went to the open mic. It was… ok. I only stayed for about an hour and then left to go watch TV with the friend I dragged along. Most of the poets we heard in that time were… strange.
Don’t get me wrong, I love strange and poets are a kooky bunch… But some of these guys just felt out of touch. Some tried too hard to conjure imagery, one had a need to be liked, another was just plain dull.
Granted I heard some fantastic stand-up style humor and a few witty observations… but I must say that I wasn’t the only guy there to nod off a bit and one of the performers(who wasn’t very great anyway) got off the stage and started checking his email while the next(much better) guy went.
The experience has made me realize 3 things:
1. Want to write better poetry.
2. The problem I had with poetry, is that it is too often inaccessible to those who aren’t poets themselves.
3. A lot of bad poets, like a lot of bad actors, perform masturbatory acts that mutilate the beauty of the work they could be doing.
I saw a lot of verbose bullshit that, instead of conjuring imagery that evoked anything, just made me scratch my head wondering if there was a reason to be saying anything at all. I heard people stroking themselves, thinking they were sounding intelligent, all the while offering nothing even remotely mentally stimulating.
Where are the seeds that sprouted into inspiration this young man’s mind oh so many years ago? Contemplating the transience of existence in “Nothing Gold Can Stay” and the extended metaphor of life’s difficulties in “Mother to Son.”
What happened to clever limericks like Philip Larkin’s “This Be The Verse”?
The hookingly eloquent, intuitive nonsense like “Jabberwocky”?
Since everyone I listed is dead, I’m adding Sherman Alexie. “Fire as verb and noun” is amazing. If you’ve never read it, do it. The man has been published for a reason.
I’m issuing a challenge to artists, to really make art.