Thursday, March 22, 2012

iambic pentameter and other such nonsense

I rarely like poetry. Maybe that makes me a bad English teacher, but I can deal with that if it gets me out of having to know the difference between a pantoum and a sestina. Occasionally I'll get on a limerick kick and send everyone I know a little rhyme, and I once held an entire conversation in haiku (the other half of that conversation is not my friend anymore, most likely because of that incident). For the most part, however, I stubbornly stick to prose.

For some inexplicable reason, I've been drawn to poetry lately. But not just any poetry, oh no. I can't be happy just reading a little ee cummings and going about my day. I like poetry slams.

I knew the concept long before I'd ever attended one; obviously I'd shown performed poems to my students before and I have had some friends that write in the slam poetry style. It's been creeping into my day-to-day for a little while now; from Jacob suggesting we write poems as a form of intercession, to Courtney bragging about the slam at her writers' conference, to Lauren having a competition on her DVR when I got here. I attended a slam in Columbus before I left, and last night Lauren and I made our way to a very artsy pub in Berkeley to watch some amazing poets compete. And now I want to do it too.

I've been writing poetry in my head since we got home last night, although none of it is even close to being worth performing. The thing with poetry is that it's so real; you can't hide behind clever anecdotes or verbosity. Poetry depends on precise diction and syntax, two things I'd rather just avoid in favor of telling lame jokes. When written well, poetry takes you places prose never could, introducing you to emotions drawn with words that feel as real as burning your hand on a stove.

No matter how many times I try, I can't seem to figure out how to write about India (or the end of Korea for that matter). Perhaps I'm just jobless and bored, but I think it would be fun to challenge myself as a writer and see if I can paint in verse what I can't seem to record in prose.

Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to watch videos like this and call it research.

1 comment:


    I tried to do it a few years ago too, but couldn't find anywhere near Dayton that did it. So I'd just watch videos like this one and practice viciously into my mirror.

    They're just such PASSION in it. Even if they're slamming about something you've never experienced, you still cheer like crazy when they're done.

    Here's hoping you find a place that lets you slam until your heart is content :)