Wednesday, August 1, 2012

You're not a Poet, and you know it!

Poets are often viewed as the "eccentric", otherwise emotionally attached personalities, walking about silently, just looking for some everything. However, being a poet myself, the definition of the poet by the description above, is completely misconstrued, as a poet is not a particular kind of person; a poet is the soul of the person, and the writer merely transcribes from the soul- verbatim. Maybe I can't offer a better explanation, and maybe other poets or poetry enthusiasts have a different definition for what a poet is, but I know that I feel very much comfortable with the definition I've presented, and I aver that poetry, to me, is all about being able to express yourself without feeling shame nor any bout of guilt; a true poet will expose even the most grotesque contours of their psyche and spirit, however many times they may disguise it by witty puns or metaphors. The point is; poets are fearless people who want to confront and grapple with, they want to understand, break down and construct, simultaneously. 

Over the years I have fallen in love with the works of many a gifted poets and I have even been similarly inspired them; though not always by their verses, but sometimes merely from their drive and will to open up, even in the most closeted form. Poets such as; Theresa Davis and Patricia Smith are two African American poets with the rhythm and verbosity to ravish me, while Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde are the kind who offer an alternative view of their emotions, using different literary techniques, mostly understood through intensive discourse and analysis. There's a voice in each poem and I usually fall in love with a poem, or resonate well with it when I've actually understood what the poem is at least trying to convey- and when I say, "I understood," I am merely referring to ones ability to feel moved or touched by the verse and relate it back to your own present, past or future life, and in no way does understanding here entail, dissecting a poem, word-for-word; digging for hyperbole's here and metaphors there. 

Below are two videos from the American, articulate and witty poet, Shira Erlichman, whose poems I have come to learn of and love through searching thousands of poetry slam videos on YouTube. When I first heard Shira, most enthusiastically and passionately reciting her poem; Daddy's Parking Lot Sermon, I was instantaneously enthralled by her and have since gone on to include her in my Top Ten list of favourite poets. (Yes, I do actually have such a list). Her verses come with a twist; a difference from the norm, and are filled with the propensity to send the the imagination reeling. She is well articulated and exhibits a deathless confidence, which only adds ease to her works, meaning that her poems leave a lasting impression and are anything but of ephemeral quality. 

I've uploaded two videos of Shira Erlichman performing at two different events below, as I would like for you to see for yourself, just how much of an intriguing character she is, while at the same time, opening the doors in your heart and ears to imbibe the crisp nature of her work. I've also included a video of Patricia Smith, renowned African American poet, known for her calm recitals and her royal selection of imagery and personality within her poems. I have personally met with Patricia Smith, at a book launch and recital at Wits, and a while later she read one of my poems; proceeding to commend and compliment me, and since then I've just never been discouraged, because being called great by Patricia Smith in 2010, is just as great as it would have been getting called great by Shakespeare during the 1600s.


Above: Erlichman performing her poem, Daddy's Parking Lot Sermon

Above: Performing, Six Tips for Straight Girls, at The Boston Poetry Slam

Patricia Smith performing, Blood Dazzler 

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