Back in the the library again. Some thought to pass the time, since I have yet install Microsoft Word back onto my amnesiac laptop and therefore cannot work on my book.
I have spent over a year as an active audience member/sometimes slammer with HC Slam Collective. We're an awesome loving venue. We run free workshops, we get drunk with out features, we hang out with them in train stations and play with their babies. We all-around have a lot of love for each other and for poetry. I never saw this as a problem. Until very recently. I was having a conversation about one of the recent features with one of James's housemates, and the conversation turned towards the open mic. He complained that nobody can write anything but love poems anymore. And goddammit, he's right, and I am really ashamed to say I hadn't exactly noticed. Maybe because last year at this time, that's all was doing. Even though I wasn't in love. Or even remotely close. And love poems are just fine. They're just not the only ones out there. Another of his complaints was that people will talk about sex or masturbation really candidly just for the shock value. He brought up a "casual sex and casual pancakes" poem (that I am ambivalent about) by someone who just recently joined the community. I am exhausted by these as well, but also guilty of them from time to time. Poems involving some reference to sex anyway. Although I think I'm usually pretty tasteful. I hope I'm pretty tasteful.
In any event, a couple weeks ago at one of our workshops, Sean gave us all a challenge, asking us to read The Challenge of Slam by Regie Gibson. He wanted us to identify our type and write against it. We made a list of words, phrases, and images that are currently dead or cringe-worthy now in spoken word poetry: soul/essence, cigarette, razor blade, angel, concrete, "what ever happened to good hip-hop/punk rock/etc.", flight as a freedom metaphor, body parts as food, third eye, scar, rib cage, maps, "in my veins", stars. But I think that, even if it is a little fascist, we should ban everyone from reading love poems for a little while, just to see what comes out of the woodwork. It could be incredibly interesting. I just may have to discuss this with someone.
And it's not that I don't write love poems. I just think that they have their time and place. A open mic should not be exclusively about pining away or falling for someone with a little sprinkle of sexual innuendo for good measure. That's just not interesting to me. I guess this is the hazard of being the only college in the country that's home to an NPS certified poetry venue. We have a team, we will travel. We just need to stop being so sappy.