Believe it, or not, not every poet in New York City has a blog. Of course, most of them have wonderful perspective on this renaissance we are in the midst of. With that in mind, I’m going to try to give them an opportunity to be a lil bit louder in the cyber world.
The Rules- I ask seven questions and the answers go up on the blog in their entirety, totally unedited. (Much thanks to Krystal Ashe for inspiring the idea)
Our Poet- Abena Koomson, one of the best voices in our community right now. Whether she is singing or ruminating on the mic, Abena is all inspiration and goodness. “She makes me happy to be poet,” was a comment I heard after Abena finished dropping a piece last Monday.
o.b.:Â Let’s start with the obvious- Why do you go onstage with your poetry?
AK-47: I want to learn from the sharing of it.Ã‚Â I know what I learn from the writing of it. I learn about my inner life. I learn what’s important to me. On stage, I’m learning something about vulnerability. As much as I love people and as much as I give, I’m still an incredibly private person whose public aspect can sometimes hide my vulnerability.
o.b.:Â As a performer, what has been the most dynamic stage you’ve been on?
AK-47: The Workshop Theatre at Sarah Lawrence College.
In college I was in a production of Once on this Island that rocked my world, and later that year I wrote a Cabaret where this cute girl from California rocked my world. Her name was Elana Bell. We made extraordinary music. The rest is history.
o.b.:Â What is the biggest thing you have learned hanging out by the merchandise table at the back of Bar13?
AK-47: a) Hugging poets is one of my favorite activities.
b) I have every intention of figuring out how to get people to buy more stuff. This too is a craft.
o.b.:Â Have you ever revised or edited out large sections of a poem while on the mic? Why?
AK-47: I feel free to do that, whenever. (then people ask me to see the poem, and I’m like, “oops.”) As for why, the answer is partially found in the world of Jazz. You take a standard and as you push through the refrains and melodies, you find spaces for interpretation. And then of course there are the days where I forget my own poem…
o.b.:Â Who would you pay $20 to see on a poetry stage?
AK-47: Sonia Sanchez with her beautiful strange & dangerous self. Her performance lives for me in a way that elevates my experience of her on the page. I think our wild sides are very connected, and I grew up with her work.
o.b.:Â “If singing is like flying with angels, then poetry is like…”
AK-47: being in a relationship with one. The struggle of trying to explain to someone from another world what this world is like…the cost of being loved by a being who will only love even though you can (and do) hate…the delicate connection which could break at any moment…the attempts to describe in detail that which we all know intuitively…the rapture of celestial kisses…the constant threat that looms in long distance relationships…it’s exactly like being in love with an angel and trying to work it out every day of your life.
o.b.:Â Should the Jets pick up Keyshawn again?
AK-47: Can’t hurt what they’re doin’ right now. Why not? That dude better play some football for somebody!