|Some of the Affrilachian Poets hang out after Gypsy Slam.|
Yes, you can attend most the events if you're a guy, and yes, if you're within driving distance or in any way able to come to next year's event, you probably should. It's been amazing so far.
I'm going to be completely honest though. This is more a two part blog entry out of necessity than convenience; I need sleep.
The Gypsy Slam actually happened last night, but I want to talk about it real quick while it's fresh on my mind. Before sleep. Fellow NKY poet Lisa Marie Carbert did her thing. She's really getting awesome, and it's great to see some of us represent from time to time. Northern Kentucky rarely gets any love. And I got to see a lot of the Lexingtonians I've come to know and love too, it was an all-around amazing event.
Afterwards, though, I got to sit down for a little while tonight with Lauren Zuniga, who won the competition (I won't even begin to talk about how breathless her second poem left me), and Laura Yes Yes, who all around rocks as a person and a poet (Cave Canem Group A what!) and we talked a little bit about how slam poetry is perceived. That is, as something lesser than poetry. Patrica Smith hasn't done slam in some years, but Lauren noted that a reviewer explained that Patricia Smith had transcended her slam roots. As if slam is the first step to writing real poetry. Poetry-as-training-bra.
Semi-random aside. Here's Laura Yes Yes on her first set, tearing it up, and captured with a camera that has strangely rendered her as some sort of poetic spirit-warrior:
Hell, it was only earlier this week I was telling my friend and fellow poet Megan Scharff, that I believe that there are academic poets who purposely read poorly because the only people who they care about impressing are poets, publishers, and professors who are used to that kind of reading, or who are already enamored with their previously published work. Perhaps it's the cynic in me, but I have been to too many horrendous academic readings to believe that all those poets happen to be naturally terrible readers who have never gotten any better. There's an idea in academic poetry that alienating the audience is fine, because it weeds out those who are not serious about the blessed miracle that is the written word.
I've never believed that poetry is dying, but if it was, it would be because of academic poetry, and those who support the idea that letting the audience in is a crime. That's not to say that all poetry need be 'easy' to understand: narrative, straight-forward, and simply-worded, though some of my favorite poetry is. It means that when a human being is standing on stage, they can at least give the other human beings in the room the common courtesy of caring.