A few months or maybe even a few years ago, the "poetry scene" was a very cool, eclectic atmosphere. There was an ART and a craft about it. The people that gathered together were like an out-the-box, forward thinking, FAMILY with expansive imaginations and the courage to explore every aspect of the language. People not only read THEIR work but made sure they studied the poetry of the ancient greats: Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sonia Sanchez, etc. There was a pride in knowing that your poetry had meaning, depth, and could uplift and encourage others. There was also a sense that your words could stand as the turning point for someone in order to open their eyes to brand new ways of thinking that could lead to different directions, outcomes, and possibilities.
Today, however, the poetry scene has a brand new "capitalistic" state of mind. No one cares what you say, as long as you sing it and "walk it out" with a snappy, too loud beat drowning out all sense of meaning. Poetry for the sake of appreciation doesn't exist anymore because we need to compete against each other and find out "who's hot and who's not" for a cash prize. Venues don't value the poetry or the fact that their building is housing radical, amazing ideas--they just want to make sure everyone pays a cover charge when they walk in the door and buys overpriced appetizers and drinks.
Folks are slowly slipping out of the label of "true artist" or "true poet" to opt for the more famous term of "local celebrity" or "crowd favorite". I don't know about you, but I have heard EVERYTHING that the 10 or 12 "local celebrities" have to say. I've heard their same memorized poems over and over again and NOW it's time for something new.
There IS another level
There IS another level
People say all the time that this is the "new thing" and the "next level" of this and that but what I've noticed is they never mention QUALITY. If I'm going to step to another plateau of anything, the higher level is going to be one of SUBSTANCE. Substance can only be found when one is in a state of continual learning. Most "local poet celebrities" feel they have nothing LEFT to learn and that's why the poetry scene is suffering from monotony.
The AtL. Poetry Meetup Group has a mission to create, promote, and encourage QUALITY CREATIVE EXPRESSION. If you are a "true artist" or one who enjoys the passion of exploring and appreciating every aspect of the language, please continue your support.
Let's take the Poetry Scene BACK! It's TIME!!