Warlock

It seemed everyone was in on some type of deal these days and you had to watch your back. Shady things and characters were everywhere and the language of confrontation slipped easily from the lips of passerby’s. People even honked their horns, a rarity in this neighborhood and though it may never have been considered sleepy, you could remember a time when not a soul could be seen in certain areas past 8pm. Now everyone was out and at seemingly all hours of the night. Who were these movers and shakers some of them old enough to drive? Most followed some tech or business expansion out here like those crazy old miners of 49 but instead of working the land they pursued nothing at all and threw money into the silliest toys and most wayward ventures. The regular people in the neighborhood had greeted these newcomers with trepidation but they came from ancient families and could lay a discerning eye on such proceedings. Hell, even you were from somewhere else

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Opening

 

I’m tired of being good if being good in this life means being contained I tried but let’s face it I’m a human animal I’m awkward, I put my foot in my mouth I yell out sometimes for no reason but I don’t take myself seriously except when I’m telling you about someone else like Cervantes or the Howlin Wolf.

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Requiem for the Breeze

 

Trawling the vacant storefronts of the 21st century during football games, searching for inspiration amid the check-out aisles and random displays.                                                       Here’s to you fashionably dressed ladies of Safeway, bent over your carts while the moon cries above. When I’m inspired I do the laundry- on other days, I bide my time while the winds of may bring in the flies.                                                                                                                     A fair chance has come kicking at your door again while you were busy trying to get away. As unforgiving as a hole in my heart where Puerto Rico once lived though I cannot continue to imagine it much longer.                                                                                                           Too many poor nights standing out on the back step with all the stars pressed up against you.Turning keys at city hall for the half-wits and not enough coffee at night to keep you awake and you need as many distractions as you can take, sailing through the hidden lobbies half amused in spite of yourself.                                                                                               Out of sorts in the crowds because you’ve seen through your own skin too many times or in the silliest piece of fanfare passed off again as praise.                                                                   Your standing alone in an age of wonder crawling out from Cadillacs painted over by the crust of vicious habit. Call it a premonition, but the shows gone to town and you’re alone, checking the hotels for fresh corpses that have been left to flower in your absence.               Just in time for the late hour, after the shift of both night and day, when going to town meant tackling the pun for groups of well-wishers, with drink in hand.                                     The swell of voices keeps from bobbing up in the place of your thoughts, blocking out the horizon. It doesn’t matter, when the dream finally arrives it will be as regular as the         9-5. Dismayed, and ruined they’ve even sent the cleaning woman home in reaction to the news- of what you can no longer see, the house meant to fit and instead tore it to the ground.           Falling through the many wonders as they’re called back home.                                                     Tiled porches and dovetailed ceilings the inner connected roads barely lit so the traveling is slow unless they’ve attempted it a thousand times before.                                                       Then it’s back to work or outta luck where nothing much lends itself most naturally.   The ordinary factory worker worth his weight in gold in the life and times of seen it all before.

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7th Blog/Project

Chapter 1. Walking narratives- (narrative)

The ultimate story we all possess. Getting up on stage; stories of various poetry attempts. What can you possibly hope to communicate to others through poetry?

Chapter 2. The Moral Question– (Break narrative)

What is the nature of the communication between the audience and the poet? Does the poet have an obligation towards their audience? Morality in art?

Chapter3. The Outsider– (context)

Outlaw poets, rebels, and outsiders. The exclusion principle or the role of the poet in society.

Chapter 4. The Dying art– (context)

Is poetry’s readership is declining? Poetry’s transformative history and the methods used in teaching poetry today.

Considering I will be talking about language, in general, I feel the need for a first person narration to engage the reader. My sample chapter will discuss how the allure of poetry hooked me and why this matters to myself and others. I will illustrate this through stories of my own experiences reading poetry and why I believe poetry can help us to think better. I will be using narrative in outlining my own stories but will draw on historical and philosophical insights regarding narrative as well. The nature of words, varying interpretations and cultural biases are some of the other themes to be explored.

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6th Blog Project. Narrative

I’m not even sure how I ended up onstage but it wasn’t exactly something that fell from the sky either. To be honest, it was always out there somewhere. Like an insignificant dot on the horizon, taking shape, slowly growing until suddenly you realize you’re in a gigantic house and that you’ve been in it for some time.

I have been educated by poetry, by language, my whole life, so the house was, at least, familiar even if some of the avenues were left unexplained or unknown. Music has also been a deep passion of mine from the time I was very little and whether rock and roll or Jazz it was all about attitude and a very personal voice. Poetry is part of this voice and the earliest tales, whether creation myths or great journeys, were sung. The Greeks did tragedy on a grand scale and the heroes, villains and other universal themes still run through our own stories and are present in our own songs. Poetry, I’ve discovered, takes a very specific voice and one which can run contrary to societies aims. Rebelliousness is an intriguing thing and most of the artists I’d admired said or did things that the established circles frowned upon. I was hooked on what these artists were singing about, they spoke to me in the simplest adolescent terms but there was some great poetry in there as well. Looking back on it I think the catalyst to spoken word had been karaoke. It felt good to be up on stage after a few beers belting out some choice cuts at my favorite pub on a sultry night. There was a familiarity there, an inclusiveness, or it was just the drugs? Whatever it was, felt like magic and people were, at least, amused.

By the time I began writing poetry in earnest it was a dead language. I know this because not only had I read about its demise in countless articles but the signs were all around me. Friends tended to drift off around Oscar Wilde, and no one found French symbolists much to write home about either. I wasn’t fazed, however, their refusal to see the light only strengthened my resolve. I began to feel like some errant knight bringing religion to the heathens. My Don Quixote would fight a million windmills and dive even deeper into the imagination until reality itself seemed a dull copy. The question was how to get these clearly cut poetically developed insights across to masses at large? Why was this important at all or even necessary? Of course, you’ve heard about the analogy of why mountain climbers climb mountains? Well, this wasn’t anything like that, this was inventing the mountain and the climber.                                                                                                                           Poetry has gotten a bad rap over the years, the whipping boy of rules driven scholastic system. Educators had tried their best to keep poetry tied to the page but eventually it had broken free and music had given its wings to soar. As I write this a young kid bounces along the sidewalk outside of my house rapping out loud. It’s there as if our language is always finding new ways to present itself. We want to tell our stories and we want to have them heard. To perform poetry or some spectacle at the very least to the public in any capacity is a nerve-wracking, humorous and dangerous undertaking. The first time I performed I was heckled pretty badly and it caught me more than a little off guard. I was beginning to have second thoughts about my calling but didn’t want to throw in the towel either. The dangers were making themselves apparent to me and I was reminded what they had done to Socrates.

I put myself back in karaoke mode with a vengeance in the upcoming weeks but this was just compensation for the bad reception my words had received. I began hitting up coffee shops and bars all over the city and some were better than others but my neighborhood crowd was still at the back of my mind. I needed to get out and look around, though, research was vital in these things. How did other places present open mic events? Was it the deep divide it seemed, between raging drunks and well-intentioned literary types? The coffee shops came prepared with their own attentive listeners but some of it felt a little too complacent, clapping at any ill-conceived party trick they heard. Bars could be exciting but sometimes a bit too much excitement which can blur the lines of intelligible reading. I’ve even done a stint at the back of a bowling alley that was thankfully broken up by an overly religious owner berating me for bringing the devil into his house. I even went to some great poetry events full of people who could make the phone book sound exciting and gradually I relaxed and loosened my grip.

This I found was my secret that it isn’t as important to get every scratch of cleverly placed wording exactly right but the general feel of the reading. This is what I gleaned from all of my rock and roll friends who put just as much emphasis on the roll as on the rock. Besides most of the people in the audience were drunk and wouldn’t remember a thing the next day anyway.

But occasionally they do and one evening a young girl approached me and said that she too wrote poetry but had never thought about reading it until she saw me on stage. This is how it starts for anyone interested in testing the limits of imagination. All you need is a voice and something to tell the rest of us.

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Book Chapter 1

In researching material that will contribute to my forthcoming chapter, I found a wealth of information. Trying to pare this down into what direction I want my book chapter to take is an ongoing process. I’m finding this to be a real challenge because although I feel I have a command of my subject matter but I’m finding the research is changing this aspect.

Looking at poetry from strictly a first person viewpoint and how it does or doesn’t influence people is something I know from reading it as well as hearing it first hand from people is one thing. The other side of that coin is, what are the elements which make up poetry? Why does it elicit such a response from people either positive or negative? This is tied up in things like poetry’s history, the language and how it’s components come together. This latter is a bit more technical and I’m separating these aspects to sharpen the focus of my chapter.

The Atlantic Online:

This article lines up specifically with my main interest- “Can Poetry Matter?”

I liked this site because it leans a bit towards statistics regarding poetry’s popularity.

http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/poetry/gioia/gioia.htm

The Smart Set

“The Re-enchantment of poetry.”

I liked this article because it draws specifics between reading poetry and inspiration. It not only looks at poetry through the ages but connects it to modern day readers and culture or lack of.

http://thesmartset.com/the-re-enchantment-of-poetry/

Dark Horse Magazine

“Poetry as Enchantment”

Very well written. A blend of literary sense with facts regarding poetry as an art form. This article also makes claims against the serious study of poetry. It provides a stark reality to the whimsical nature of writing and academia.

http://www.thedarkhorsemagazine.com/danagioiapoetrya.html

 Oscar Wilde in America

What can I say but simply inspiration times ten. Reading Wilde always gives me hope in the power of language in changing hearts and minds.  These are details from Wilde’s poetry tour in America in the 1800’s. both in reviews, as well as topics, covered. A fascinating account.

http://www.oscarwildeinamerica.org/lectures-1882/itinerary.html

CNN 

“Does Poetry Still Matter?”

Gets down to the heart of the matter. Looks at statistics but also talks about the current state of poetry. Where is poetry headed? What is it’s value if any in the current cultural landscape, as well as statistics, statistics, statistics

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/25/living/poetry-dead-poet-laureate-herrera-feat/

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Book Proposal

 

Poetry can bring so much to the human condition. It is where language itself comes from and anyone who enjoys ideas or good conversation will discover a rich world within it. Poetry is all around us; it is in music, in various displays, in magazines and newspapers even in the signage everywhere though you might need to jumble the words up a bit. this means there is a sense of play or engagement with poetry that by its nature calls us to join in on. It’s something to be practiced and like any language can be very inspiring because poetry like all art forms allows one to truly create the world instead of merely viewing it.

It isn’t just about words on a page but also a way of seeing and thinking about the world and ourselves in it.

I wondered why at my favorite watering hole people were often hunched over their phones and other devices? Surely they could do this at home and at half the price to boot? People want to be out in the crowd but alone too which is something I find irreconcilable. There is a closed minded pervasiveness to our society and poetry is a way to counter that. This is because poetry talks outside of language, it isn’t beholden to the same conventions of meaning and in this way has something vital to contribute to our way of thinking.

Poetry has gotten a bad rap over the years in part because at some point it left the performance realm and has been tied strictly to the page to be dissected piecemeal. Poetry is music, its life was born out of rhythm and ultimately communication with others long before the written word. Stories have been handed down through the centuries and they are still being told today. These are just some of the reasons why poetry is important and why readers will find this book interesting and engaging. We all have stories and this is the common link between all of us. My time spent at performing spoken word as well as watching it has both informed my poetry and led me to questions regarding language in general. Something which begins partly in performance on stage and then becomes a conversation between people afterward is something of a marvel. If you like stories and having great conversations, hearing live music or seeing any live performance this book is for you. People with a scholastic background or anyone who enjoys art or likes learning can get a lot out of these pages.

Poetry is all in the attempt it’s about trying something new and nothing one has to get correct. Like music or any other art it has been passed down from person to person through the centuries and it’s ability to inspire people to go out and make their own art is one of its most attractive features. though you may still not think poetry does anything, I contend that at least it teaches a way of rerouting the brain a little, to be a bit more open perhaps or take a moment before rushing to the same conclusions we always do.

I’ve enjoyed being both a reader and a writer of poetry over many years and the subject matter continues to grow deeper and richer.

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