A casual traipse through my LinkedIn feed brought me to this article: How To Leave Your Ego At the Door Although this is framed for the corporate/private sector types, the points are applicable to the artists/wannabes as well! Here, my reactions to the points…
1. Keep introductions short
You know who are the WORST at this? Poets! They spend thirteen minutes to introduce a three-second poem! Their meanderings about their mother’s nicknames for vaginas and the need to always wear a hat because of medications (as recently-experienced examples) take away from the poetry listening experience. Standardize an intro; read it if you have to, commit it to memory, OR, since you’re a featured poet, just read the damn poem!
2. Don’t let recognition or achievement get to your head
Wow. Completely inapplicable to artists. The whole point of artistry IS recognition and achievement! The fun part is listening to these lists of awards they provide, feeling they’re completely fabricated or worse, distributed amongst a handful of club members. I notice in the blogosphere a bevy of circle-jerking awards (not gonna point any violators out; I’m limiting myself to general snark today). Recently I sat in on a book reading and was impressed by the award this woman had achieved for her memoir, but the excerpt she shared was so…what’s the best way to put it…? Entitled White American Woman Problem I couldn’t conceive how she earned it!
3. Surround yourself with humility
The artist who’s the WORST at humility? One Man Show Performers. Oy vey! I like the author’s statement here: “If you hang out with egomaniacs, you’ll likely become one.” Damn straight.
4. Present yourself through logic
The moment this happens in the arty world, time will stop, space will implode, and all we know to be true will be GONE.
Coming from a technical background, thinking scientifically by nature, and having dealt with people of all mental disorders, it is very painful for me to try to plan even the SIMPLEST events using who, what, when, where, and why with my fellows. Let me correct myself; it’s always ONLY “why”! The decision makers are the main violators of #3.
5. Don’t talk the talk if you can’t walk the walk
I’ve sat in writing groups where they take it much further: don’t call yourself a writer if you’re not published, don’t call yourself published if you’re not under a major press, don’t even fuckin’ THINK about sitting at this table unless you have an MFA from a liberal arts college! So of course, I attend because I love watching people go ballistic once finding out I fulfill only one of all their demands. Hehe.
Original Post Date April 24, 2013 at 10:40 PM
The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part three of a three part installment. This week we highlight published poets.
We’ve celebrated National Poetry Month by getting in front of the microphone and performing our works, putting a poem in our pocket, and reminiscing on poetry recitation assignments of yore. Poetry will remain a constant in my life and I hope poetry will affect you the same.
I’d like to introduce you to a few poets I’ve had the joy of connecting with in the past few months. Here I close my tribute to National Poetry Month by shamelessly promoting their awesomeness and art.
Poet: Maureen McDole
How We Met: I met Maureen at an open mic and found out about her open mic at Crum’s every other Tuesday, which I’ve regularly attended. Maureen provided some of the pics I featured in this month’s blog on the open mic experience.
What I Like: Maureen is confident, present, radiant, and engaging. And she happens to be a woman. In an age where it seems women are more apt to snipe at each other than hold each other up, Maureen reminds everyone in the room there is worth in celebrating femininity. Even I, Miss Darkness, Miss Pouty Face, can’t help but smile when she performs her poems. I fight it, but it’s of no use: Maureen’s words are friggin’ inspirational.
Works Available At: maureenmcdole.com
Poet: Peter Hargitai
How We Met: Peter had me at “cock.” He recited a Hungarian folk tale about an adventurous rooster and I was immediately impressed, not only at the multitude of the mention of “cock” in one setting, but how outstanding his delivery was. After his presentation we chatted and I found out he’s just as amiable as he is talented.
What I Like: I love a good story, and I enjoy a great storyteller. Peter’s poems bring you to his world, and you can see and feel and smell the old country just as he remembers it. His love for his wife is on an epic level, witnessed through his anniversary poem he performed last month. I hope I become an eighteenth as creative as he is.
Works Available At: http://www.approaching-my-literature.com/index.html
Poet: David Messineo
How We Met: I attended David’s poetry reading on April 7th. He read from Historiopticon and Formal and in between, explained his approaches to the works.
What I Like: It so happens this year is the 500th anniversary of Ponce de Leon discovering Florida. I happen to have a working project labeled “The Bastards of Conquistadors.” When David read from Historiopticon, I was dually pleased to experience such rich depiction of sentiment and such tightly researched data. A rarity in poetry collections, David has all his references listed in the back of the book.
Works Available At: http://www.blurb.com/b/4215481-historiopticon
Original Post Date April 11, 2013 at 10:14 PM
The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part one of a three part installment. The freeing energy that is the Open Mic experience. Snaps, snaps, snaps!
The Academy of American Poets recognizes April as National Poetry Month.This blog will celebrate poets and poetry this month in a three part series.
Imagine walking onto a stage, facing a sea of discontented, uninterested faces. Some are attached to bodies with ambivalent arms folded tightly across their chests. When you announce your name into the microphone, you’re greeted with a sea of disdainful groans. You spend the next five excruciating minutes of your life trying to convince these people you are not the enemy, but for every second you appear before them, you increasingly are. You’re not allowed to depart the stage until loaded questions are hurled upon you, harpoons of cynicism pierce you, and the unflattering photograph is taken.
Imagine waking up the next day, to find your unflattering photo captioned with a misinterpreted soundbite as first page news, and your supervisor blowing up your phone, prepared for a discussion on “best practices.”
Yup. That was me not too long ago. Days like that would keep any sane person away from a microphone, a stage, heck, from people altogether!
I poet. I speak words that are loosely formatted but convey a thought, an emotion, an image. I express myself in a manner that makes me feel whole. Poetry does that for many people. And many people here in the Saint Petersburg area are really, really good at expressing themselves.
My writing partner and I have been open mic’ing (if that’s the verb?) and are pleasantly experiencing dynamic synergy amongst local artists. Open mics aren’t just for poets. There are musicians, comedians, storytellers, and even interpretive dancers. It’s a do-what-you-like-and-be-adored-for-it kind of atmosphere. For me, it’s healing and it’s great practice for the upcoming book readings. And you know what? It’s getting to be a bit addictive too.
Whatever inhibitions you think you may have about performing your art in front of an audience, toss them aside and join in on the fun. When you say your name into the mic, everyone cheers. When you perform your set, you’ll be encouraged by smiles. And when you leave the stage, people will look forward to hearing from you again. Ready to get started? Here’s two venues with upcoming events:
APRIL 17 7pm-9pm: Open Mic Night at Irene’s – St. Bart’s Episcopal Church, 3747 34th St S, St Pete, 33711
APRIL 23 7pm-10pm: Open Mic Tuesday – Crum’s Bar and Grill - 2924 5th Ave N, St Pete, 33713
Original Post Date April 17, 2013 at 04:26 PM
The author celebrates National Poetry Month. This week’s post is part two of a three part installment. This week, how poems can influence and inspire everyday experiences.
The Academy of American Poets recognizes April as National Poetry Month. Thursday, April 18 is National Poem In Your Pocket Day.
I qualify as perpetual carrier of poems in my pocket, be they in my Notepad app on my smartphone or my mini-journal in my junk bag. With Internet search engine at the ready, a random poem can be presented for review. Useful tools, saving me the numbing task of trying to remember a poem I’d recited a looooong time ago.
Remember that? Remember having to memorize and recite poems for a grade? You couldn’t get away with a haiku either, oh no.Shakespeare’s sonnets, any of them, incited hemorrhaging. I had the (cough, cough) joy of tackling Alexander Pope’s Rape of the Lock for a project. Thankfully, The Dragon (yes, she wanted us to call her that) only required Canto I of the five. Do the kids do this in school anymore? Is it another assignment they can file a legal injunction against?
This is why I respect poets. They can stand in front of an audience and spin a tale with grace and excitement and without needing to reference notes. Me? I tried it a couple of times with my own poetry. I can’t even memorize my own poetry! Perhaps I blew out that particular section of my brain during my recitation of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky.
Poems can amplify your life experiences. One example is Stopping by Woods On A Snowy Evening. “Of easy wind and downy flake” is a beautiful line, full of imagery. I’ve enjoyed Robert Frost’s work since my childhood, but this poem literally came alive for me one winter driving in the mountains of Pennsylvania. Whenever I come across it now, I remember me and my dog Bear driving from Altoona to State College, stopping on a peak to admire the downy flake of an Appalachian winter.
Poetry can pronounce your experiences when your own words can’t do it justice. A Dream Deferred by Langston Hughes did that for me three years ago. I remember reciting it for a stage production and for junior year English but thought nothing of it then. Seventeen years later I was fumbling over my state of being, crippled by uncertainty, and then happened upon this poem (courtesy of cswnet.com):What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load. Or does it explode?
And with that, I said, it’s time to become a writer. Novelist, poet, blogger three years later. Thank you Langston Hughes.
Remember to put a poem in your pocket tomorrow. Share it with everyone in listening range; posting on social media I deem cheating! I close with two of my own works for you to enjoy. One light, one dark, depending on how you prefer your poetic coffee.
Ode to Three Birds Tavern
(Composed 5.31.12)Once upon a day dreary wind choppy, sky bleary I wandered into tavern here soaking wet, ordered a beer Soon it amounted to more than one and out peak’ed the afternoon sun Kristen sparked the music box right with rockabilly to delight the boys in the back pushed the cue the bartender kept pouring brew the winds calmed down the sky did clear and all of this cause I stopped for a beer.
Stopping By The Master’s Grave
(Composed 4.4.13)youandI have been here before youandI youandI have spoken in cold air and youandI were youandI despite the chill youandI have much in common youandI darkness we wear like a furry cloak in the air of despair will me towards the black trust me to honor your way your words your fundamental melancholy youandI have much in common youandI I will see you brother it will not be too soon.