POETS ARE WELCOME …

 R.M. ENGELHARDT

 

“That’s the god damn problem with Albany, NY” She said.

“There are too many fucking poets “

In the city

Where I was born

They tore it all down

So many times

That we all forgot.

Because you see

I was born

In a place

Where the lives get

Lines and the stories

Become lives

Of their own.

Full of gangsters

And politicians, low

Dealers and the cops

Gotham city at it’s finest

Without a single hero

To write about it

Except us.

Because we’re just the fucking poets

And because were not the fucking law

And we are only here to tell the stories

Because this is all we own

Because we’re

The poets & the outcasts

And the makers of the songs

And the leftover soul of a city

That’s heading for a fall

And if Jesus came tomorrow

And if God closed the pearly gates

We’d still all just be the poets

Writing poems till the end of days

And we don’t write for glory

And we don’t write for time

We just write because we have to

Without a rhythm or a rhyme

So even if you leave here

Or you meet a sad demise

Remember that you’re a poet

And that’s just enough to survive

Because

 Without the words?

It all means nothing

At all

And the poets

Will always be welcome

“Here”

_____________

R.M. ENGELHARDT

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

Albany, NY’s Open Mic For Poets & Writers Returns Tonight!

THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT :  ALBANY, NY’S OPEN MIC FOR
POETS & WRITERS RETURNS ON THURSDAY 04.11.13

                     www.newversemovement.com

Celebrate National Poetry Month : The 2013 Albany WordFest!

 

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In celebration of National Poetry Month, Albany Poets is proud to present the 2013 Albany Word Fest featuring the poetry and spoken word of upstate New York.  This year’s event will take place on Sunday, April 14 – Saturday, April 20, 2013.

 

“What a great way to celebrate National Poetry Month right here in Albany. With a full week of poetry and spoken word, there is something for everyone.” Thom Francis, Albany Poets President, said, “Whether you would like to take in a featured performance, celebrate the launch of a new, local literary journal, attend a regional poetry slam, or be part of one of the largest annual open mics in the area, the Albany Word Fest is the place for you.”

 

Avery Stempel, Albany Poets board member, adds, “Word Fest is a celebration of spoken word spanning a full week of events that incorporate the diverse forms of expression ranging from impromptu skits to rehearsed and choreographed slams.  Poets, philosophers, performers: all are welcome in this growing community of Albany writers.  I am excited to be a part of the team coordinating the festivities this year!”

The week will kick-off with the launch of Albany Poets’ brand new literary journal, Up The River. Editors Jill Crammond and Keith Spencer have been culling through hundreds of submissions and will debut their selections for the first issue on Sunday, April 14 at McGeary’s. The evening will also feature performances by some of the poets published.

On Monday, April 15 we head to the UAG Gallery on Lark Street for a night of poetry and spoken word from Poets Against Fracking featuring Band of Bards, a community of Binghamton area writers, artists, and activists who have turned their talents toward helping to preserve their community against the threat of hydraulic fracture gas drilling in New York State and beyond.

Also on Monday night, Jill Crammond will be hosting an open mic for students in grades 5 – 12 at the Bethlehem Children’s School in Slingerlands. This will be a great opportunity for young poets and writers to share their work with others.

On Tuesday, April 16 the festival continues with the Nitty Gritty Slam at Valentines. For the Word Fest edition of NGS, Mojavi and Thom Francis will present the first ever Haiku Battle. This long awaited event will finally make its Albany debut on the Nitty Gritty stage.

For Wednesday night, April 17, the Word Fest heads over to The Linda – WAMC’s Performing Arts Studio on Central Ave for a screening of the film Louder Than A Bomb, “a film about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust. It’s about the joy of being young, and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise, and finding your voice. It also just happens to be about poetry.”

Thursday, the poetry comes back to the Social Justice Center with the Third Thursday Poetry Night hosted by Dan Wilcox. This monthly poetry series welcomes poets to step up to the mic and share their work along with featured performers from the College of Saint Rose.

Friday night features two poetry events with the annual Word Fest Open Mic taking place at the UAG Gallery on Lark Street while UGT will be happening at The Linda on Central Ave.

This year Albany Poets is going back to a familiar place for the Word Fest Open Mic. We are returning to the UAG Gallery on Lark Street for this annual Word Fest tradition. The UAG has hosted the Open Mic five times in the past (2006 – 2010) and it is great to be back home for the 2013 Word Fest.

Poets who wish to participate in the open mic can sign up online by going to the signup pageuntil Sunday, April 14.  Performers will also have a limited opportunity to sign up at the event itself.  Each poet will have 10 minutes to share their work. The open mic is open to all poets and spoken word artists with no style or content restrictions.

Meanwhile, right up Central Avenue, at The Linda, Urban Guerilla Theatre will be presenting the second Skit Happens show. UGT President Mojavi explains, “ ‘Skit Happens, Too’ is an eclectic blend of poetry, comedy and skits. UGT is dedicated to bringing you funny, incredible performances and even crazier skits. We continue to bring you the best in poetry, comedy and performance as part of the 2013 Albany Word Fest.”

Finally on Saturday, April 20, the Word Fest comes to an end with the first ever Word Fest Invitational Slam at Valentine’s starting at 6:00pm. Albany Poets, Frequency North, and Urban Guerilla Theatre are proud to welcome six teams from all over the Northeast to compete in this event. Admission for this event at Valentine’s is $10.00 in advance / $12.00 at the door. This event is 18+ (21+ to drink) with a picture ID required. Tickets will be available online beginning on March 14.

Additionally, all throughout the week, Albany Poets will be publishing local poetry on their website as part of the Word Fest Online Open Mic. Poets who wish to participate are encouraged to send their poems to albanypoets+submissions@gmail.com with “Online Open Mic” in the subject line, starting Sunday, April 7.

The 2013 Albany Word Fest is sponsored by Albany PoetsHudson Valley Writers GuildFrequency NorthUrban Guerrilla TheatreValentinesMcGeary’s,Upstate Artists Guild, and the very generous donations of supporters of the arts in upstate New York including Matt GallettaDan WilcoxHoward KoganKenneth Salzmann, and Bob Sharkey.

Latest Word Fest News

2013 Albany Word Fest – The Word Fest Kick Off Party and Launch of Up The River on Sunday, April 14
April 3, 2013 2:36:40 PM EDT

Getting Closer… Two Weeks Until the 2013 Albany Word Fest
April 2, 2013 10:44:56 AM EDT

2013 Albany Word Fest – Poets Against Fracking featuring Band of Bards on Monday, April 15
March 29, 2013 9:55:17 AM EDT

2013 Albany Word Fest News – New Events, New Features, and How You Can Help
March 14, 2013 10:26:52 AM EDT

More Word Fest News

The Albany Word Fest is © 2013 Albany Poets. All Rights Reserved.

 

Poetry Slams Do Nothing To Help The Art Form Survive

slam boxers

Poetry is dying. Actually, it’s pretty dead already for all intents and purposes and the rise of performance poetry slams is doing nothing to help matters. I know, I used to be a performance poet.

The first poetry slam competition was held in Chicago in 1984. Named after a brutal wrestling move, the slam saw poets perform original pieces for a live audience who voted for a winner. The early slam poets railed against what they pejoratively referred to as page poetry. They demanded, along with Bukowski, that poetry “have guts”. They wanted to democratise poetry and drag it from the academic ivory tower.

But there never was an ivory tower. There was no cabal of posh people who had purposely made poetry unintelligible. Poetry has always been words on a page, open to anyone. The politicisation of art and the drawing of sectarian lines continues to damage poetry to this today.

Like sipping a fine wine, reading poetry cannot be rushed. It reveals its pleasures over time, rewarding the careful reader with something new and beautiful each time. It runs bang against the grain of our quick-fix culture. It is already a lost discipline. I have taught poetry to hundreds of children aged seven to 14 and not one of them could name me a poet beyond Shakespeare.

A further nail in the coffin is the rise of poetry slams. I have performed at many slams and the audience is almost always half drunk and if you want to win you have to pitch your poem pretty low. The result is a scene rife with the poetic equivalent of nob jokes – and plenty of actual nob jokes.

The only division in poetry is between those people willing to take the time to read it and those who will not. When Emily Dickinson said only “the fairest” may enter her house of “possibility”, she wasn’t being elitist –she was putting up a barrier against the lazy.

Most slam poems are not strong enough to be published in even minor poetry journals. And that’s fine; maybe they don’t want to be. Then why attack the poems that do? It’s like there is an oedipal urge to kill the art that made it. We cannot allow slam poetry to replace the role poetry plays in our lives. The threat is there.

There is a school of thought that thinks slams are the answer. The slams I have attended have little to do with poetry and everything to do with a Darwinian death match where the audience picks the winner like some blood-crazed Circus Maximus mob.

Poetry, like all art, whispers its message and we must learn to slow down and take the time to hear it.

~ NATHAN A THOMPSON  

FRIDAY 01 FEBRUARY 2013

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/art/features/poetry-slams-do-nothing-to-help-the-art-form-survive-8475599.html

THE NEW VERSE MOVEMENT HAS ARRIVED

THE NEW VERSE MOVEMENT HAS ARRIVED

 

image

THE “NEW VERSE MOVEMENT” HAS ARRIVED.

THE SCHOOL OF NIGHT
OPEN MIC FOR POETS, POETRY
& WRITERS RETURNS TO DOWNTOWN
ALBANY, NY ON THURSDAY, APRIL 11TH

The Pearl Street Pub & Dirty Martini Lounge In Albany

NO RULES. NO SCORES. NO AGENDAS.

JUST YOUR WORDS ARE REQUIRED.

7:30pm Sign Up * 8pm Start

 www.newversemovement.com

 

Poet R.M. Engelhardt finds hope in words ~ Times Union 3/14/13

R.M. ENGELHARDT
R.M. ENGELHARDT

Poet R.M. Engelhardt finds hope in words

Engelhardt expresses hope in power of language

By Amy Biancolli Published 2:11 pm, Wednesday, March 13, 2013

 

The poems of R.M. Engelhardt don’t assert faith in much. Not religion. Not a society that ignores the plight of the downtrodden while glorifying the rich.

As he writes in “Burn,” a reflection on a homeless man in winter that appears in his 13th book, “The Resurrection Waltz”: “…the george bailey in / this story has no clarence.” “It’s a Wonderful Life” this isn’t.

But the works of this longtime Albany poet holds some faith in a few things. Late-life love, for a start. (“…happiness/That came later/and not sooner“). Smoking, too; he did, after all, title his 2006 book of collected works “The Last Cigarette.” “This is actually part of who I am in general. I’m smoking now as we speak,” he said, chatting on the phone recently.

But he has faith in something else, too: poetry. In “Saint Poem,” he addresses the form itself as a carrier of grace or salvation. “Dear Poem/Saint Poem/I ask you/To please see us through yet another day,” he pleads, coming around to a state of exhausted resignation. Both the faith and the exhaustion pop up throughout “The Resurrection Waltz” (Infinity Publishing), an 82-page tract of succinctly expressed disgruntlement flecked with hope.

“Poetry is very much like a religion. I wouldn’t say my complete religion,” he said. Nevertheless, “It’s the poem that saves you. You write the poem, but it’s catharsis, and what’s what brings you into being — what makes you stable, balanced.”

Engelhardt will read and sign copies of “The Resurrection Waltz,” from 7 to 9 p.m. today at the Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza.

On April 11, he’ll kick off his School of Night open mic, to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. on the second Thursday of each month at the Pearl Street Pub/Dirty Martini Lounge. And then, on April 19, he plans to read at the open mic as part of 2013 Albany Word Fest, set to run from April 14 to 20.

He dates his interest in poetry to childhood, when he composed a myth about a forged Bronze Warrior that wowed his sixth-grade teacher. His appreciation for the power of words never waned. Now a deep-rooted fixture on the poetry landscape, Engelhardt runs open mics, edits a journal (“The Literary Rogue”) and, in 2000, founded the Albany Poets collective (http://www.albanypoets.com). A year later, he started the Word Fest.

“He’s been around for a long, long time, and he’s the one that took me under my wing when I was in high school almost 20 years ago. And he’s always trying to innovate and come up with ways to get new people involved,” said Thom Francis, current president of Albany Poets. As for Engelhardt’s writing, “It’s very personal, and yet sometimes spiritual. And you know, it runs the gamut.”

Engelhardt is not a fan of slams — open mics with a competitive format. “You have people judging the work of new poets, people who have never read before. So the problem is people are just getting out — they’re discovering their authentic voices, and they’re being judged by people. I don’t believe that poetry should be judged.”

He draws his inspiration from a variety of sources. One is the woman in his life, Kali De La Cruz, the photographer (credited as Lona Cygnus), who designed the cover for “The Resurrection Waltz.”

Another is the city of Albany, where his family goes back six generations. After a stint in the Florida Keys some years back, he returned with a newfound appreciation for Albany’s creative vibe.

“It’s the place itself,” he said. “It has a great poetry and literary scene — a great writing scene — it has a great music scene, a great arts scene. And if you can’t find inspiration in that, well, you’re in the wrong place.”

What about those cigarettes? Can someone be a poet without smoking? “If it’s for them, sure,” he said. Then he clarified: “If they’re a nonsmoking poet.”

abiancolli@timesunion.com • 518-454-5439

At a glance R.M. Engelhardt

 

http://www.timesunion.com/entertainment/article/Poet-R-M-Engelhardt-finds-hope-in-words-4351753.php

What: Reading and signing of “Resurrection Waltz,” new book by Albany poet When: 7-9 p.m. today, March 14

Where: The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, 1475 Western Ave. Info: 489-4761;

 

http://rmengelhardt.com

 

http://www.bookhouse.indiebound.com