PREJUDICED POETS & OTHER NOTES: I crawled out of bed Saturday morning to attend the 11 a.m. board meeting of the poetry organization I am a member of, and I am not a morning person. I usually sleep until noon or beyond on the weekends. So, I get there and immediately the meeting is hijacked by this college professor/self-published poet who begins to question why the organization is planning to fund an Atlanta slam team to go to the nationals in 2005. Without coming out and saying it directly, he obviously doesn't believe the organization should be wasting money on "slam poetry." He's "insulted" by spoken word and "people who come to open mics and write something 20 minutes before they get up on stage." Then he proposes the organization fund a series of public "discussions" on the state of poetry. After I told him he had a "personal prejudice" against spoken word poetry, he refused to make eye contact or address me directly. I wasn't going to put his name, but you know what....it's Bob Giannetti. If you're reading this, Bob, well....good. Maybe it will make you get your head out of your ass.

While Bob may not want to acknowledge it, there is a faction of old-guard academics who will NEVER have any respect for spoken word poetry. I don't care how many "discussions" you have, it's not going to change. The other thing Bob won't acknowledge is that he is a member of this faction. I told him that I believed putting a group of old tight-ass formalists in a room with a group of spoken word artists would turn into a melee and do more harm than good. You get a passionate group of spoken word artists in a room and the first time some old blue hair with a wall of degrees starts talking shit, then fur will fly. If he wants to put himself in the center of that, more power to him, but I don't think we should fund an event that creates more cliques than already exist. Luckily, the organization will not be putting its name on any kind of critique fest. I would definitely have to resign if that were the case.

Bob is forever talking about bringing poetry to a wider audience that just poets. Apparently, Bob isn't attending the right events. As a matter of fact, I rarely see Bob at any event that doesn't involve him and his book or that holds some kind of fantasy prestige in his mind. The Voices Carry event at the Carter Center last month and the Terminus party last night were full of people who just came to listen. Get out more, Bob. And take Lee Passarella with you. Join the evolution or get off the soapbox.

Speaking of the Terminus party...it was a huge success. Standing room only and Terminus raised enough funds to print the next edition. I saw so many of my pals, and shared some laughs (and personal asides) with Cherryl and Lisa. Kodac Harrison was on fire last night...I'd never heard him play so well and with such spirit. Nathan Deen was funny, Beth Gylys was a delightful surprise and Tom Lux's poems were, as usual, great. I thought my set went really well. I'm excited to be in the next edition of Terminus. My thanks to Travis Denton and Mike Dockins for inviting me and supporting my work. It was an honor.

On Friday night, I had the pleasure of welcoming the great poet Sholeh Wolpe to Atlanta. She read for a small, but appreciative crowd at my B&N @ Tech open mic. Afterwards, we went to dinner with Cecilia Woloch and shared some laughs. Sholeh is at Java Monkey tonight at 8 p.m. You don't want to miss this!

Comments

Teamaster said…
Amen, brother! :)

-David
Anonymous said…
Fanfuckingtastic rant!

TJ
Terry Cuthbert said…
I used to be published all over the world, but I grew tired of all of the divisions in poetry, all the poets who think that only they can write poetry. So now I put all of my poems and short-prose onto blogs. All on-line. I don't really care anymore.

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