March 4, 2007

Sparrows-Day 2

After a nice hike in the moutains above Salida, we swam in the hot springs pool and I went over to my workshop at Bongo Billy’s.

I was surprised to see the room full, more dropping in and wondered why I even bothered to ask their names if I wasn’t going to remember them. Oh, the teacher in me. It says do this and this to break the ice, but doesn’t bother to tell the poet, “Now make sure you try and remember their names.”

On the plus side, I started out my workshop: “Spoken Word: Literary Fad or Movement,” by explaining my relationship to this very strange, amorphous genre. We talked a bit about the early Dadaist movement and played Kurt Schwitter and argued that that is arguably the birth of “spoken word,” because if there is any sense to be made in what he is saying it is in the hearing of it. I think the hearing of it creates a sort of happy satisfaction in the listener, which reading it on the page never would. But it would be nice to really understand what spurred people to write this way and how it expressed itself in society at large at the time. Likewise, getting a better understanding of how “Spoken Word” fits into the African-American and Native American traditions too. I have the material, but I don’t understand the importance of the preacher, stories in each tradition.

Obviously the section on the beats, since I’m a fan is where the piece really begins to take off. Supplemented by passable material (really need to get better material for Jack) and bring up some other characters and the importance of performance in their work. Launching into the early origins of Hip-Hop (which I’m no expert on) was fun, and it was interesting to hear the teacher say, “Using Hip-Hop songs and lyrics as a way of talking about rhyme and rhythm would be an easy way to tap into kids’ culture…” Or something to that effect. And of course, more Cowboy poetry, more background. And frankly, I’m pretty fucking knowledgeable about slam.

All in all it was a good workshop, a good overview of what Spoken Word is, how it works, why now, and where is it going.

The night's performance rocked. A really good show. My personal favorites: Hakim (of course), Kory Ford, and Jim Tipton. Overall, everyone was good and the show was structured so no body read too long. Then went to the Victoria for an Open Mike and my poem, "The Joint," was definitely the favorite of the line cooks. Line cooks love me. I'm one of them in my soul.

See you at the Win2andYouAreIn qualifier.


rosemerry said...

Where Do You Think I Might Get Some Dynamite?

When did I forget how to speak?
Was it when you stopped listening?
How deep this reservoir of brown resentments?
How long will this dam of silence hold?

Shatter it.
Shatter it.
Explode the fucking dam.

And what will become of the shores below?
And what submerged canyons will slowly show?
And what cliff walls will again welcome sun?
And what red flowers and what new weeds will soon grow?

No way to know these new landscapes.
I’ve lost the map, but I’ve found some new words.
And what will I do if you still won’t listen?
I don’t need to shout. I will sing for myself.

rosemerry said...

Oops ... i had cut and pasted something else ... sorry don. i thought i was pasting in and sending to you a comment that verified that yes, you killed, and yes, it was marvelous to have you at sparrows, and yes i will see you on the fourth of may and why oh why oh why is it that you and i are not playing poetry more often, despite the fact that we live in different states, i have a baby and you have a full time job?