Gallery America


The Poet


AIRED: June 12, 2020 | 0:11:19

Speaker 1: Oh, my loves like a

red, red Rose that newly sprung

in June. Oh, my loves like the

melody that's sweetly played in


Speaker 2: Most poetry, real

poetry comes from a more sort of

natural expression of the poets.

So, and when, when we think of

the thee and thou, and that's

not the way most poetry works,

Shakespeare wrote that way and

done wrote that way, because

that was a natural expression of

their age, the greatest poetry

and the poetry that survives is

the poetry that uses the

language of it's time poet.

Today, who's trying to write as

if he lived in the 17th century

scoring to write poems that are

already dead. A poet who works

today has to use the language of

today. And that's a constant

challenge. That's one of the

things that keeps poetry


Speaker 3: I'm a tee shirt and

jeans guy trapped in a faction

mall privilege, drips down the

sides of the escalators. This

place is so lifeless that I

expect to see George Romero and

a film crew around every corner.

Speaker 2: Poetry is a way I

think of reaching out of saying,

here's how I feel about the

world. How do you feel about it?

Speaker 4: Maybe it's just too

late to be awake. I quit smoking

cigarettes. So I stopped

sounding like a young Tom waits

with blistered guitar

fingertips, your credentials to

move me have been revoked

Speaker 2: Well for me, every

poem is part of a conversation.

And each poem asks in a way for

an answer in poem,

Speaker 1: Her soft limb,

suddenly edged in Harvard,

grain, her face flushed and red

neon like resentment itself. A

symbol of something part could

make only imagine

Speaker 2: I see this going all

the way back. Poetry itself is

one big conversation and it's a

conversation. Anyone can join.

Some people join it quietly.

Some people join it. Um, more

forcefully, more loudly, but

it's, it's an open conversation.

Speaker 4: No matter what we

must eat to live, the gifts of

earth are brought in, prepared

set on the table. So it has been

since creation and it will go

on. So poetry is soul talk and

everybody has a soul. And we

walk into this world with our

soul and we walk out of this

world as our soul. And when we

leave poetry, we'll want to be

one of the things that we can

carry with us.

Perhaps the world will end at

the kitchen table while we are

laughing and crying, eating. I'm

still last sweet bite poetry

might be the only word in the

English language that has no

negative connotations attached

to it. It's probably true. You

know, it's a, it's an absolute

purity of language. I think the

best poem I ever wrote, or at

least what I think is the best

poem I wrote. I was trying very

hard to, to imitate a Joe Bolton

poem called after rain. I wrote

probably seven lines that were

pretty solid. And then I tried

to finish the poem and the

ending for a year, never lived

up to the beginning of that

poem. I just, it never, I never

had the energy. I couldn't

continue it. I rewrote it and

rewrote it and rewrote it. And

then I put it away until one day

I just, it just hit me. I mean,

it just, I was like, Oh my God,

there it is. That's the ending

right there. And I did have it.

And I still say, it's a solid

poem, but it's not a great poem.

Speaker 5: Lying drunk in the

tub. I hear a boy dragging

aluminum bat along wet sidewalks

outside my window. The slow Dole

bounce of metal over pebbles

tells me he has gone from

choking up like his coach.

Must've told him to nearly

letting the clubs slip from his

fingers altogether, a voice

filters through my screen.

Someone tells him to keep his

chin up. I hold myself upright

to see who's talking. There is

no boy, no one tells him


Speaker 4: I think a lot of

people have the idea that, well,

it's cool. You just write some

lines and there it is. But

they're often very tightly

constructed. Even if they're

so-called free verse because you

have all of these elements, the

poem may not rhyme metrically,

but they're still, you're still

dealing with line endings.

You're still dealing with sound.

You're still dealing with

phrasing. Meaning

Speaker 2: Sometimes people ask

what is a poem and there's not a

definition for a poem. Any

number of good poems will

violate any rule for poetry. You

establish a poem is just

something that looks like a

poem. Sounds like a poem.

Speaker 6: There is a world out

there that needs to taste the

slick and dirty secrets that

you've keep buried in the stock

room. You keep shoveling your

failures down your throat. So no

one will see you fall. You keep

treating this gift. You've been

given like a ticket to the

suffering parade. Poetry slam is

competitive spoken word. So

essentially a poet gets up with

a piece three minutes in length

that they've composed themselves

and they yelled their home at

the audience,

Speaker 2: Teach me humility,

teach me humanity.

Speaker 6: We have a team

competition, which is the

national poetry slam. And then

we have the individual roll

poetry slam, which happens

usually in October. And that's

the best of the best of

individual poets from all over

the country. Um, and myself, uh,

I'm ranked third in the world

right now, text your wild roots

in your crazy pulp hands and

grow up. Growth is a choice.

Like work is a choice. Like

failure is a choice like bloom

is a choice and bloom is a


Speaker 2: People think the slam

poetry is a, is a new thing, but

the first poets delivered their

poems out loud. They a Wolf, the

first great English poem wasn't

written originally. It was, it

was chanted sounds so stupid.

The same kind of creative

energies that goes into poetry

goes into, into hip hop. The

roots of poetry. Aren't academic

poetry began, uh, among the

people in, in song and then

chanting over the course of the

20th century. Poetry sort of got

absorbed into academic culture

and that's given a lot of

people. The impression that it's


Speaker 4: It's very hard to

understand in contemporary

society, if you're starting out

with Shakespeare or better, in

my opinion, Yates for poetry, it

can be difficult or Wallace

Stevens. Good Lord. What if we

started with Wallace Stevens? No

one would understand it. There

would be trepidation about

poetry that was translated to us

from our teachers. I began to

get that trepidation. Okay. What

does this poem mean? And I'm

thinking, well, you know, most

of these poets were from England

or from a time that was not, you

know, a time and a language that

was intriguing, but different.

And so we didn't always have the

tools and nor were we encouraged

us to read and enjoy, you know,

to find, I think it would be

helpful to find poems that you

know, that are relative

Speaker 7: Before you guys leave

tonight. What I want you to do

is make sure you pick up a copy

of our KT and number five, we've

got some, some fantastic fiction

and poetry, and we actually have

some nonfiction this time, too.


Speaker 6: All love this

magazine. I mean, we love it. We

get submissions from all over

the world. In fact, the last

time I checked, which was a

couple of months ago, there were

only two countries left that we

had not received submissions

from. Our acceptance rate is

very low. In fact, that poetry

is so low that we're currently

on a website for

extremely we're we're

Speaker 2: On their list. The

what they called their extremely

challenging markets along with

Paris review and new Yorker. And

that's kind of cool. Oklahoma

has a vibrant, lively, exciting

poetry scene. There are lots of

great journals in Oklahoma and

there lots of really outstanding

poets that I love to, to

champion whenever I can. Her

eldest living son was leaving to

fight a district war, poets.

Aren't any, they're not wise.

They're just people. They're

just people with the same

questions. Everybody else. He

just happened to write

Speaker 6: Down. I think people

just think we talk about trees a

lot. Um, and like, uh, the

darkness, uh, but there's,

there's so much depth to what we

perform about. There's laughter

there's heartache. Um, really

we're just sharing secrets. Some

people will ask me how in the

world did you come up with this?

I said, I don't know it just,

Speaker 2: I say thank you to

the spirit of creativity because

things will just emerge. Wow.

That's pretty cool. I'll put

that in. Poetry can be for

everybody. The way that music is

for everybody or painting is for

everybody. And then, you know,

if you pick up a poet and you

don't like it, well, that's a

poet. You don't like not poetry

that you don't eat. I should try

somebody else. Voice feels like

honey. I don't like every song I

hear on the radio. It doesn't

mean I don't like music. Poetry

is good for us. It's good for

our soul. It enlivens us and

encourages us and helps us

Speaker 6: Family, friends, mom,

no truths to truths. You are the

only one dreaming part

thunderstorm word for word

marched human truth details.

Bosch, listen,

Do all the CS gang dry. My dear

and the rocks melt with the sun.

And I will love the still my

dear while the sands of life

shall run and affair the, well,

my only love and fare thee. Well

a while. And I will come again.

Might love though. Tour 10,000



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