Where Are All The New Voices?

Poetry is dead, long live poetry  ~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Poetry is dead, long live poetry
~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 

“O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring;

Of the endless trains of the faithless—of cities fill’d with the foolish;

Of myself forever reproaching myself, (for who more foolish than I, and who more faithless?)

Of eyes that vainly crave the light—of the objects mean—of the struggle ever renew’d;

Of the poor results of all—of the plodding and sordid crowds I see around me;

Of the empty and useless years of the rest—with the rest me intertwined;

The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?

Answer.

That you are here—that life exists, and identity;

That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”

Walt WhitmanLeaves of Grass

 ____________

According To The Urban Dictionary:

Slam Poetry: A Definition

The poetry that thrives in a culture of non-readers. Very sincere, bad poetry. Delivered in front of and given encouragement from a small group of people who are also bad poets. Slam poets think that their poetry is more powerful if they just yell it. Sincerely painful to listen to. It’s bad poetry. They try very hard, but they have no idea what they’re doing.

Most slam poetry could be better classified as motivational speaking or stand-up comedy.

Poetry : A Definition

 1. An archaic form of literature, now dying off. Doggerel.

As practiced in modern times, poetry is a discredited means of (supposedly) communicating aesthetic thoughts or feelings in verbal form. Thousands, perhaps millions of person-hours, disc/server space, and trees are wasted to develop and store this tripe.

“Award winning” poetry is usually the worst kind, representing the vilest outcome of combining incestuous art-cronyism with self-indulgent self-promotion.

2. A complete waste of time.

1. Bob is nearly finished with his english degree, but he still needs a credit in poetry of the twentieth century.

2. 

Small trees that shine

out of watery depths

With broken limbs, like

Becky are

Not why I write.

_________________

Above, as you have just read are two comedic and yet sarcastic definitions of what slam poetry is and what poetry itself is to a generation out there who on Urban Dictionary believe that they are being comical and witty. But the truth is that there is some deeper hidden meaning in both of these separate ideas of a definition. Once, poetry was a sacred thing full of wisdom and a secret meaning that the reader was to ponder but it was also about the words and life experiences of the poet, a mystical figure shrouded in enlightenment whose words were like prophecy. The Bible? Poetry. The Koran? Poetry. Religions and laws based on those religions? All poetry and all based on those voices and those words written by wordsmiths and scribes. And those words once meant something more and those poems were epic. Every civilization on earth from the dawn of recorded time has had their great poets. Every age had something to say that defined them. But the question now exactly is where is poetry going and where are all those voices now?

It seems that over the last thirty years or so that poetry has been manipulated into something it should never be by popular culture and by the idea that poetry is anything that you can say (ex. Lyrics) when up upon a stage for a contest and to win a few dollars. As an event idea It’s a wonderful thing that slam poetry open mics have helped academics, colleges and schools bring kids and students into the light of reading literature but it is now an overused tool and it’s time has sadly passed. Slam poetry has simply become another label that has outlived it’s time and usefulness. For poetry should be much more than this, and it has to become much more than this or it just isn’t poetry anymore and the poet merely becomes just another performer or rapper. Once upon a time poetry was important. It created new worlds of imagination and reached imaginations. It influenced and inspired generations who fought and died and who stood up against war and oppression. But tell us, where are these voices now when we need them most?  Where is our new Walt Whitman or William Shakespeare when we are merely as writers and the public writing something just to get up on a stage and to just rant but not to write any words or poems on the page that are powerful or eternal? Who will write these lasting words that will speak to our descendents or to a generation 500 years from now?

It’s time to write. It’s time to dispel the myth that true poetry in all it’s forms is not archaic or dead but alive and well and to bring those forms back into being. It’s time to be inspired and write not just for an audience who applauds you in a cafe or a bar after a few drinks and score you but for those who will read your words many years from now. So let’s be honest. Slam poetry, as a label and as a form, as a contest or as an event has had it’s day and it’s time to pronounce it dead.  If you are a true poet or a writer this shouldn’t bother you but not writing or finding the right words should because that’s what we do. You write. The 20th century produced some amazingly talented poets such as T.S. Eliot, Silvia Plath, Borges, Garcia Lorca and many many others but after the Beat Generation ended it seems overall there are just a mere handful of poets now living or dead  in comparison whose work and craft and the truth within it  all have truly earned the right to be called “Poets”.

So, where are all the new voices now?

We would like to read their words.

Start writing.

_________________

 

~ R.M. ENGELHARDT, 2013

A WRITER’S ADVICE

 

writersadvicerm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry and cigarettes

Will save your soul,

Or what once

Someone told me

Before I grew old,

And scotch and women?

It’s all the same,

For these four things

Shall keep you quite sane

But now that I’m older

And wiser for wear

I know it’s only love

That keeps our souls here.

For words

Might be wisdom

And words may be true

But love is more

Beautiful and

Far wiser than you

Will ever ever be.

______________

~ R.M. ENGELHARDT, 2013

Keep A Journal

The Importance of Keeping a Journal: Anaïs Nin

 

“This diary is my kief, hashish, and opium pipe. This is my drug and my vice. Instead of writing a novel, I lie back with this book and a pen, and dream, and indulge in refractions and defractions… I must relive my life in the dream. The dream is my only life. I see in the echoes and reverberations, the transfigurations which alone keep wonder pure. Otherwise all magic is lost. Otherwise life shows its deformities and the homeliness becomes rust… All matter must be fused this way through the lens of my vice or the rust of living would slow down my rhythm to a sob.”

~From The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Volume 1.

 

“The diary taught me that it is in the moments of emotional crisis that human beings reveal themselves most accurately. I learned to choose the heightened moments because they are the moments of revelation.”

 

~From Nin’s essay On Writing, 1947.

 

From Flavorwire


journal

SAINT POEM BY R.M. ENGELHARDT

SAINTPOEM BY R.M. ENGELHARDT

 

In the time of the world’s night, the poet utters the holy

~ Heidegger

Broken.

Like the words or like the song

Or like the man or like the poem

His muse, his wife, his dog

And if it ain’t gonna walk

It begs

It crawls

And will eventually die

Alone.

Solitary-slow, old & torn up,

Soul screaming like some bloody

Blood drenched pathetic heart or like

The sonnet that once ached now lost

That once breathed new life into the void

This universe

Still spinning

But dead

Like Gods.

The history of the poem now only

The mere echo and the ghost fuck of

The shell-shocked & the literary damned

All of them

Silent, still secretly whispering

To themselves

In libraries

Over books

Around the world

All of them,

Still wanting the words

All reaching with their new formalist minds

And still secretly dreaming

And waiting for the return of

Sirens to come and save them

A messiah, or

A muse.

And lo, as I walk thru this valley of despair

I still hope that there be some cigarettes

There, or perhaps some literary corpses with

Anything interesting left to say

In all of these

Silent & dead verse days

Repeating and repeating

Again.

For it is not enough

To write or to see, or to believe –

To become this disease or feel it

To become a now love,

A now hope which

No longer breathes with

Too many stars forgotten

Still clinging to it’s lost beauty

And truth.

So Dear Poem

Saint Poem,

I ask you

To please see us through yet another day

And may to thee I pray with the words that

Doth flow like a river, a dream like inspiration

With this lost voice, a generation

Forgotten and left behind

Or like a prophet

Who has lost what

Remains of his soul

And his mind

For in the beginning?

We only know that there was no heaven

Or earth but only the words, the hipsters,

And the rebellion, the beginning of the cool

As the nocturnal music past midnight blared

Of jazz & revolutions that guided its

Disciples in leather jackets

Who only lived & wrote

For you.

As you,

Saint Poem

Saint Muse

Sung the blues alone

In the starry night

Like a transmission

To the damned

And the unaccepted

Lost

But where are you now

Saint Poem, Saint Muse?

Where are you now?

To see, to sing of this humanity

Living in the streets

Living un-alive un-dead,

Scattered & trapped here

In a new century

Without light

Where are you now

Saint Poem?

To tell us that

The human heart

Isn’t dead that the myth

Isn’t dead just yet?

As we

The poets

The prophets

And the every

Day dreamers

Of ordinary

Wait

As we

The workers

The lovers

And all the

False salesmen

Of shit

No one wants

Are still waiting

For the next

Awakened

Breathing time

Of creation

Among all these

Forgotten stars

Lost, in their

Forgotten realms

Still, always returning

Back home again with

The same damn

Fucking song

Drunk & alone

And singing The

Resurrection Waltz

Once more

And again

To themselves.

______________

R.M.  ENGELHARDT 

FROM THE RESURRECTION WALTZ, 2012

ON THE VERGE OF EXTINCTION

THE RESURRECTION WALTZ

 

The time for poets

Has passed.

The time for words

Is gone

I have decided.

Soul & mind

As all the machines

Take over

As heart & guts are

Fucked over by

Commercials, jingles

Liars, assholes &

Trite hallmark cards

That’s it

I give up

I’m finished

I’m done

I lost the fight

And the battle

Took too much

Out of me

I lost the war and

My will for self-preservation

Is gone.

Painting images

With words

And for all of love’s

Considerations.

Pushing verses

Past their limits

To try to reach

Other people

Just another poet,

Now dead on the verge

Of extinction, sitting in

A room by himself

As the next kid

Behind me picks up

His pen and puts it

To paper

Not knowing

What he is about

To become

Or lose.

__________

R.M. ENGELHARDT