I’d been wanting to finish another one, specifically for the chapbook I’m trying to put together, but I had one come lunging at me that definitely belongs in the book and is actually coming together more coherently than the one I wanted to finish.
Gah! This thing will never be done at this rate!
Also, a fun article on moves in contemporary poetry:
I only see myself guilty of 24, 29, and 38 (most recently in my Candles to Moths piece, which has been deemed too page-dense for stage-effective.)
Justin Schell (awesome videographer and all around great fellow) captured audio from the slam the other night (as well as doing photos), and so I thought I’d post the audio from the part of the evening I described in my last post- the realization, partway through, that the audience is there with me.
Right click to download an mp3 of my performance of “It is Hard.” from the January 2010 Soapboxing poetry slam.
So, the one thing about being a slam poet that has been continually hard for me is accepting that (as is often pointed out by hosts) the points aren’t always the point. It is difficult for me sometimes to see what garnered another poem higher scores from the judges than the ones they awarded my poem- I do not consider myself “the best poet”, or “better than others” by any means, but I know the careful architecture of my poems- the symbols and the layers, the ways I choose to get from point a to point b, the thoughtful word choice when it comes to both meaning and emotional mouthfeel and rhythm… sometimes I feel thwarted. A lot of the time, I feel thwarted, frustrated with myself or with the audience or with other poets– I take it way too hard.
Tonight was not one of those nights. I performed Aphasia first round, because I was nervous and I’ve discovered it’s a poem that is the perfect place for me to throw my nervous energy and come out winning, and though it wasn’t the best performance of it I’ve done- the crowd was with me, and for the most part, I was on. I performed It is Hard. second round, because it’s probably my second highest scoring piece after Aphasia, and I had a chance to make the third round. It was also important to me to perform a poem that was a little less fluffy and superficial and gimmicky, to have the audience know that I had important things to say, too. The poem is 99% memorized, but I have stumbled every time I go up without paper, so I brought it with me, and (more likely because I worked retail all December rather than rehearsing my poems) stumbled a little bit in the beginning before I found my stride.
There was a moment in the poem where I stepped out of my consciousness of my performance of the poem, though the words were still coming out of my mouth at the right speed, with the right emotions, and at the right volumes and cadence. In that moment I looked at the whole bar full of people and saw everyone looking at me, completely frozen, and completely silent, even the bartender. And I knew I’d done the poem justice, and myself too. The audience was rapt, and in the moment with me and the poem- it was the silence of being heard properly, and honestly, the scores mean nothing compared to that.
And yeah, I was bummed when I didn’t score highly enough against the other (very talented) poets to compete in the third round. I wanted to do my new poem about love and snow, but it can wait until I can do that poem a little bit more justice, too. Ultimately, tonight was very good in my book.
The new year is already not without its fits and starts, but the idea, at the moment, is to keep a sense of humor, wear a good mask, belt it out, and keep the party rolling.
New Year’s Resolutions:
0. Get a “real” job.
1. Get the first chapbook done (printed and all that good stuff) by Valentine’s Day.
2. Score in the top three at the Erotic Slam on Valentine’s Day.
3. Get a new item up on Etsy weekly.
4. Figure out a better system for getting photo work on Etsy done quickly.
5. Keep reading at least a book a month, and keep track of what I’ve read.
6. Get back to writing letters regularly- did a pretty good job of it this year, would like to expand upon it in 2010.
7. Get a schedule planned for MN Mic posts and deadlines for pieces.