Saturday, June 5, 2010

Coda: Reactions to I'LL BE YOUR DEAD MAN....poem.

To start with, I sent my I'LL BE YOUR DEAD MAN FOR THE EVENING poem to the co-host of the SoCal venue (which will be unnamed here) described in the piece. At first, his reply was a variation of the "start your own venue" comment that poets tend to resort to when faced with feedback they don't want to hear. I wasn't politic in my reply (though I said something positive about him as a publisher/entrepreneur--I've bought a few of his books/anthologies of other poets), complaining about the self-abuse/self-entitlement/members of the "club" feel of most of the open-mikers. He responded with a "you can't control an open mike" remark (not at all what I was saying), and ended the back-and-forth with the Facebook equivalent of hanging up on a caller.

In essence, the piece was written as a way of airing my discomfort with a place with a sense of "we're better, more astute, more literate than you." One of the first pieces of conversation I happened to hear was a couple of male poets wondering whether to participate in the open-mike or be like "common people"--which led to about 90 seconds of riffing on the Pulp song of that name.

There was one older man (looked to be in his 60s) on the open mike. So it wasn't completely young people in privileged revelry. [And I forgot to mention the slam poet on the open mike who, a long time ago, read a poem at another venue with a cheap, tasteless laugh-line about "seeing Angela Lansbury naked."]

It's just that my perception of the venue was that, for a first-time (and likely only-time) attendee, it wasn't very welcoming to newcomers. In fact, I don't even remember hearing any formal announcement of open-mike--so I'm guessing that you had to ask someone or know already who the open-mike MC for that part of the evening was.

So, that's my story about how I'LL BE YOUR DEAD MAN FOR THE EVENING came to be written. And it was meant to be more general than specific, since poets/the public are likely to encounter similar poetry venues in most cities/college towns--where you're not so much welcomed as made to jump through too many hoops to get the attention of the scenesters/ringmasters present.

1 comment:

  1. if you had meant it to be "general" instead of specific perhaps the use of some metaphors or descriptive imagery could have been used. It appeared to be very VERY specific and quite self absorbed from the view of this reader.