Authenticity 

There’s been a recent on-line conversation about ‘trauma for points’ at slam competitions. At a Hot Damn It’s A Queer Slam – a year or so ago one of the slammers did such an emotionally charged piece they re-experienced the trauma that was the basis for the piece & ran off stage & outside. The piece was so emotionally charged it was impossible to judge – was it well written? Who knows. If you didn’t score the piece high enough were you diminishing their experience. It was one of the reason I stopped judging at slams.

Between WWI & WWII poetry underwent a psychological change in which the narrative/pastoral lost out to confessional ‘do I dare walk with my pant legs rolled.’ From Eliot’s surrealism to Sexton’s ‘I hate you Daddy’ authenticity became paramount. Poets who weren’t revealing something emotionally vulnerable about themselves weren’t authentic.

Poetry that wasn’t ‘insightful’ was considered entertainment – almost as bad as being greeting card sentimental. If you didn’t have trauma you didn’t have authenticity. If you had a sense of humour, even a sense of emotional balance one wasn’t a serious poet. This ran/runs though much of the serious writing arena & is heightened in the slam scene. Anger isn’t as point worthy as rage – rape is authentic – romance is sentimental tripe.

On a recent episode of Project Runway the designers were tasked to make a garment that reflected their ethnic culture. The Latino made a dress that incorporated the names of children who had died in custody crossing the border. His explanation was emotional & resonant – the garment was not good though – so the judges had to do this dance between sentiment & practicality. 

Slam judges often are confronted with this same dance – often though they favour the emotional as opposed to the actual use of language. They want to be nice. I was happy to stop judging because I’m not interested in being nice.

Good Idea

it seemed like a good idea at the time

everyone was so gung-ho

until they realized

they would have to do something 

to make it happen

 

expecting me to do it all

was part of their plan

not mine

sure I thought their idea was great 

but I’m not a one man show

as much as I’d like to be

as much I as I know

I would be better person

for being willing to do it all by by myself

I’m not going to even try

 

when that become clear

their energy began to wane

it didn’t seem so wonderful after all

getting active

making things happen

isn’t such fun after all

why can’t someone else 

do all the work for us

while we sit back

& enjoy the results 

the rewards should be ours 

for the thinking

 

thanks to someone being 

consistant and eager

to take each demanding task 

and fulfilling them 

to our specification

yes that gives us energy

but faced with having

to do it ourselves 

we grow diffident 

disinterested

disenchanted 

while looking for the right person

to blame 

to save face

 

the next fast flash of inspiration

will have to require 

even less than thinking

https://wp.me/P1RtxU-2f6

March
March 5 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

April
April 3 – Hot Damn! It’s Queer Slam – Season 6 finales Buddies and Bad Times Theatre

May

Richard III – Stratford Festival

June

June 25-26-27 – Capturing Fire 2020 – Wooly Mammoth Theatre -Washington D.C.
 capfireslam.org 

July

All’s Well That Ends Well – Stratford Festival

Hey! You can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee

at Ted’s Bulletin in Washington DC

at 2020’s capfireslam.org – sweet, eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.