Wednesday, October 19, 2005
I am still reeling from the Rod Smith/Amiri Baraka reading last night at Georgetown. Enchanting is not the right word. There were poems about toads and third world countries and Baraka read his infamous 9-11 poem. I'm still not quite sure how to respond. One of my friends asked me why I would even go (b/c of his anti-semitism) and true, I can't say that I was looking forward to this reading in the way I am about others. Mostly, I was anxious b/c both of these readers put you on edge. They are loud and are not afraid to offend. In fact, I think they prefer it. I'm not loud and I believe in saying what you believe in as much as the next gal, but I think more so, I believe that one should argue quietly--drop images that make you shiver and question. Let me rephrase that---that's how I prefer the polical and the violent in my poems. I don't think I will ever write like these poets. Nonetheless, I bought Rod's CD and I'm chuckling along with it. That's an ingredient I like. We laugh a lot in my class. Today we laughed about midgets and poo---yes, this is what we discuss in academia. I had my students try to break the ice and do some oral storytelling. The subject matter itself wasn't pretty, but they captured small moments of what it means to be a human, to be alive and to encounter strange and uncomfortable situations. And though unlike the Baraka/Smith reading, where I can't really remember details but where I can remember how they read--the music of language, the snapping of words, where they mind breaks open and the poet becomes vessel, more than just a feeling about language, I will hang on to today's class. And just like Baraka and Smith, they enraptured each other in their telling and I'm sure everyone will remember the poo at the opera story for a while. I also made my famous pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.