current mood: hobbling. after one of the most fun days ever with the louderARTS fam, insane brunch, window shopping, looking at ugly ass shoes, a trip to the strand & catching up on some graphic novel reading (very much loving what DC is doing with both the Teen Titans & Outsiders); i start to feel an ache in my ankle which turns into the latest flare up of gout. had to cancel a baby sitting session with my godson which really puts my mood in the crapper. currently, working it out with some good food (thanks entirely to my roommate. you know, the one with the hair of an angel), a ton of water and some light blogging ;-)
speaking of real life getting in the way of best laid plans, i had to cancel my initial foray to AWP. a real bummer when you consider i was set to read alongside lorna dee cervantes & diana maria delgado for the con tinta reading. an awesome chance to meet up with other latino writers up in smoke cuz of work and that whole having to earn a livin thing that continually pops up and prevents me from being all poetry, all the time.
in some of the web announcements for the reading, i was listed as “Bronx spoken word champ Oscar Bermeo” which is a little funny in a couple of respects. first off, i aint no champ of anything. my slam win/loss record stands at 1-(a lot of attempts to win) and that lone victory comes via a cover slam so it wasnt even my own work that got me the nod. jus puttin it out for the record, ya know.
the next thing is that whole “Spoken Word” label. what a love/hate relationship i have had with this term because of how it is manipulated by those who scoff at midnight poetry readings and those who revel in it.
for the record, i do come from a poetic community that exists, thrives and seeks to remain outside of the hallowed halls that only reach a select few. we are out to bring poetry to the back of bars, elementary school auditoriums and just about anywhere we can find an audience. if it wasnt for this outlaw school of poetry, i may have never written any poems. i certainly would not have found a critical audience that encouraged me to work outside of myself and directed me to similar poets (such as whitman, neruda, baca & perdomo) that could help me find my way. notice that throughout the word “poet” stays consistent with little labeling or embellishment.
on the other hand, there is another group that loves the term “spoken word” so much that they exclude all the poetic tradition out of it. these are a lot of the same voices that you will hear at the same venues i haunt and promote. this is the necessary evil that will always exist when these events happen.
side note– people bemoan the amount of “bad poetry” at open mics but i will sit through an hour of open mic for just one good poem and when you start limiting or try to minimize this “bad poetry” you become the keeper of the ivory tower. gotta love the irony. end side note.
in the end, ima say that i am a poetry advocate and if that advocacy puts me into someone elses category of “spoken word” then cool beans. i have never felt that labels weigh me down or affect what i choose to title myself and that title remains poet.
all this may be just a bit hypocritical considering that my immediate plans involve me removing myself from that community which has raised and inspired me. more on that later, time to rest my ankle and watch wrestling.
“side note– people bemoan the amount of “bad poetry” at open mics but i will sit through an hour of open mic for just one good poem and when you start limiting or try to minimize this “bad poetry” you become the keeper of the ivory tower. gotta love the irony. end side note.”
respectfully disagreeing with you, ob.
i am one of those people who would prefer not to sit through an hour of open mic if i am only going to hear one good poem.
it seems your assumption here is that people who won’t sit through an hour of open mic to hear that good poem are elitist, going only for poets with a “name” already, those (both audience and poet) belonging to the “ivory tower.”
consider also the amount of bad poetry coming out of this “ivory tower” you mention, many a unmemorable, unengaging book which the denizens of this ivory tower produce. one from the ivory tower may have a full length collection of poems published but only five or so pages of good-memorable-engaging poetry in it.
there are many of us who’d also not sit through and/or invest our time and money in such a collection of poems; f*ck, i wouldn’t even sit and read it in a bookstore or library – if this were the case.
my two cents.
Mr. Poetry Advocate,
Too bad about AWP. There’s always next year. Feel better.
And your roomate is cute.
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