More slam poems!

November 18, 2010

F@#! Yeah Slam Poems is a blog on Tumblr that a friend of mine runs. If anyone is interested in looking at or listening to more spoken word stuff, this blog is a pretty good resource.

This video that I want to share with you is by Andrea Gibson, one of the more famous lesbian slam poets. Her poetry is about loving women, and what it means to be a woman. It’s occasionally political–this particular poem I’ve attached is about Prop 8 and gay marriage–but mostly she writes about love and girls and sex and queerness. Gibson is very emotive, and she has a slightly cloying voice, but I think she’s neat. I also think she is relatively representative of how a lot of slam poetry is written, performed, and received within the queer community.

Andrea Gibson–“I Do”

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November 18, 2010

I think it’s very interesting that spoken word poetry is, or at least was presented for homework, title-less. For written poems, the title is important to its work and can yield new meanings or help clarify possible ambiguities–they can be the first line, even. Building off of Gracie, Sarah, and Kristin’s comments on the oral quality of spoken word, it could be because titles wouldn’t be important unless they were projected rhythmically, or unless they act as an additive to the work its labeling?  “Time” and “Amethyst Rocks” are the only two assigned spoken word poems that are titled, but the titles do not preface their poems–Sean Williams never told us the title. They instead were embedded in the work itself.  As a listener I am not particularly bothered by the fact that the work isn’t vocally titled. I actually feel I was more attentive because of it. How do you guys feel? Would your experience have been different if these spoken poems were titled, or was your experience different because they are not?

For your entertainment while you ponder my question: “Window Seat” by Erykah Badu

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Urban Word NYC and Brave New Voices

November 18, 2010

In addition to Def Poetry Jam, Russell Simmons also produces the series Brave New Voices which hosts an annual international youth poetry slam festival.  One of my personal favorites, also an Urban Word NYC Grand Slam finalist, is B. Yung.  There are some great young poets featured at these events so definitely follow the leads on YouTube because there are a lot!

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Here's another one you all might like that my roomate, an education major, showed me.

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Also, for those of you who hate to love/love to hate Nicki Minaj...

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 Finally, since we’ve been talking a lot about poetry as a means of  and or/commentary on claiming/disowning language here’s a poem by Julian Curry on the word “Nigger.” (Disclaimer: I apologize if this is offensive to anyone.)

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Check Out Rives!

November 17, 2010

Hey all, you should check out Rives. And here’s his incredibly interesting website if you want to poke around, study the way the language changes for a timed performance from the page, see little weird dramas he’s written hidden in the chimes.

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Make sure you watch this one below; it’s very visual.

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Spoken Word and Poetic Tradition

November 17, 2010

From what I’m seeing of spoken word poetry, it seems to be bringing back the importance of auditory in poetry.  In its foundations (as far as we know) poetry was meant to be spoken or sung so everyone could hear it and understand it without having to read it.  When I sit in a poetry reading, I often find it difficult to follow and I know that if I can see the poem, I’ll see the craft and how it influences meaning much better than if I listen to it.  However, spoken word poetry forms itself on poetic devices that are readily heard through auditory (such as “they’re killing them one by one, two by two, three by three…but my spirit is growing seven by seven).  This might not look like much on paper, but as I listened to it, it was powerful.  The sense of auditory is just as important as the sense of sight and reading comprehension.  Spoken word adapts to and creates an auditory craft.  It also entertains and captures the audience: How Beau Sia incorporates comedy and pop culture references looks a lot like Catullus’ poems that made fun of Varrus or Cicero as he meant for them to be read on the street, so everyone could laugh at the jokes that he makes about them.  Poetry was meant to be for everyone, including those who have no desire to find meaning or anything intellectual in it.  The spoken word is different, but no less powerful, and I think it follows more closely with the original purposes of poetry than a new “unscholarly” poetry.

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my attempt

November 17, 2010

I just want to say, this project made total sense after a glass or two of wine–it helped me think more abstractly.  Hopefully my discussion will make sense too.

poetry on the web by Gracie

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Faults in the Creation of Poets.Org by the Academy of American Poets Based Upon a Competitive Outlook

November 16, 2010

Since Scanlon was nice enough to let us abandon our Poetry on the Web Projects, I figured I’d just go ahead and share what I thought the project was, and how mine was turning out. I was only half way finished, but I’m dropping it and fully intend on doing the prompt assignment instead. Is this what ya’ll thought the assignment was, or were your visions completely different?

The Academy of American Poets, a non-profit organization created to foster a growing environment conducive for the studying and sharing of American poetry, has created a numerous avenues for fulfilling its mission. Acting as its international touchstone, Poets.org familiarizes its audience with prestigious poet biographies (not all American), their poetry, essays, interviews, as well as audio and visual enhancements. However, due to the website being ran by a nonprofit academy, nor being that academy’s main focus, the website’s information inconsistently lacks width and breath versus its competition The Poetry Foundation.

Though the Academy of American Poets has allowed for the creation of Poets.org, it also hinders the website. Poets chosen to be featured on the website are selected based on criteria set forth by staff members. The final decisions are influenced by chancellors from the board of the Academy as well. The website itself declares that “while we have over 500 poets on our site, our ‘to do’ list includes over one hundred poets, many of whom won awards from the Academy of American Poets, or participated in the Academy’s programs, dating back to 1934” (Poets.org Help). Thus, the staff at Poets.org admit that a key feature of the poets elected to be featured on the site have contributed to the furthering of the Academy’s other programs personal agenda: “to provide background information in support of the Academy’s programs” (Poets.org Help). This makes the website itself void as an unbiased source of which poets and poetry should be studied. It should be noted that the website does offer a section titled “For Educators” that offers advice, curriculum, essay and project ideas for teachers of poetry, the research for which can be inconclusively accomplished on Poets.org.

The Academy of American Poets hosts numerous events throughout the year in order to promote poetry across the nation, though many of their events are more prominent in largely populated cities such as New York City where the Academy was founded. The Academy encourages membership, the only criterion for which is money. This monetary contribution supports the mission of the organization which is “to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry” (About us). The site recognizes the inconsistency of this statement with some of the non-American or non-contemporary poet that features on the site. Other projects of the Academy include public readings, a gift shop, creation of National Poetry Month, conferences, and American Poet magazine among others. Thus, the resources compounded by the not-for-profit organization spreads throughout all of their endeavors leaving each program to suffer from lack of appropriate funds and paid staff. The website itself acknowledges this claim stating “due to limitations in funding and staff time, the number of poets we plan to add always outstrips the number we are actually able to add” (Poets.org Help). In the websites defense they do not attempt to showcase all major poetry of each poet, rather just a selection. Also, each poem they do feature has been licensed and follows copyright guidelines, whereas not all poetry is allowed to be freely reproduced at Poets.org. However, this is also another con to the website, for if they had more money they would be able to pay copy-right fees, thus being able to feature a deeper breath of poetry.

Though Poets.org acknowledges the pitfalls the website faces due to lack of funds, they do not go into detail the depth of this problem. When searching for poetry on the site, one can do an Advance Search and browse through the different movements of contemporary poetry. The limited choices prove the underwhelming information available. Contemporary Formalism brings up only seven poets for a movement that began in the 1980s almost 30 years ago. The Confessional movement, popular in the 1950s which helped to spawn numerous reactionary poetry includes only six poets. Sylvia Plath, one of the most influential Confessionalists features only three poems whereas a competing nonprofit website PoetryFoundation.org features 28 poems. Though Poets.org does not claim to be a one-stop-shop of sorts for all poetic needs, they’re anthology perspective limits them from truly being a useful tool in the spreading of poetry on a collegiate scale.

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Alternative Essay Prompt

November 16, 2010

As per our “agreement” in class: if you have done or want to do the Poetry on the Web Project as it is described on the syllabus, go for it.  If you do not feel you can produce a meaningful essay with that project, then here is your alternative:

371 essay prompt

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READ THIS INTERVIEW!

November 16, 2010

In my Disability & Literature class we are assigned to read a really amazing interview with Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay and Grinnell College’s Ralph Savarese.  The interview connects characteristics of the Autistic Spectrum Disorder such as associative deconstruction, overassociative cognition, and synesthesia (all of which Tito experiences) with the art of poetry.  This interview will not only help you understand the relationship of poetry (or just writing in general) and trauma, but it will also get you thinking about Tito’s or your own writing process. Contemporary poetry, 19th century poets, and “synesthesia in literature” are also discussed.

The interview: http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/1056/1235

Some of Tito’s poetry: http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/1192/1256

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WikiOmeros

November 15, 2010

For those of you who are having trouble with some of his foreign terms and the immense density of allusion going on in this epic, the University of Warwick has started a project to try and help everyone out.

Their search bar is a little wonky and, by no means, do they have an encyclopedic account of allusion and reference in this text (correct me if I’m wrong–and I hope to God I’m wrong–but it looks like the wiki has NO information on this texts dialogue with Dante and the Commedia)

Hope this can help some of you! It sure helped me brush up on my French-Creole!

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