the middle ground…
on one hand, you have someone that has put a good deal of thought into the content of their work and can tell you why every word is in the poem but has the a delivery so flat that you have no idea when the poem begins and ends.
on the other hand, you have someone that is just ranting, is repetitive, unoriginal and could care little about literature but is so animated that you are more into their performance than their poem.
which do you choose?
being difficult, i choose the middle ground that says your work has to relevant, poignant and be able to succeed on page while simultaneously given the same treatment in the oral tradition. meaning, with as much heart and conviction as you wrote it– you have to deliver it.
impossible? maybe. but then you can always check out jimmy santiago baca’s book ‘Martin & Meditations on the South Valley’ and you will find an amazing group of semi-autobiographical poems that deliver on the page. i’m looking forward to one day seeing jimmy read and see if they can also come alive on stage.