How To Speak Poetry

C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_10533894_10206703075193258_5853652340247026265_n.jpgHow to Speak Poetry

Take the word butterfly. To use this word it is not necessary to make the voice weigh less than an ounce or equip it with small dusty wings. It is not necessary to invent a sunny day or a field of daffodils. It is not necessary to be in love, or to be in love with butterflies. The word butterfly is not a real butterfly. There is the word and there is the butterfly. If you confuse these two items people have the right to laugh at you. Do not make so much of the word. Are you trying to suggest that you love butterflies more perfectly than anyone else, or really understand their nature? The word butterfly is merely data. It is not an opportunity for you to hover, soar, befriend flowers, symbolize beauty and frailty, or in any way impersonate a butterfly. Do not act out words. Never act out words. Never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. Never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. Do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. If you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. If ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material.

What is the expression which the age demands? The age demands no expression whatever. We have seen photographs of bereaved Asian mothers. We are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. There is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. Do not even try. You will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. We have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation. Everyone knows you are eating well and are even being paid to stand up there. You are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. This should make you very quiet.  Speak the words, convey the data, step aside. Everyone knows you are in pain. You cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. Step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. You have nothing to teach them. You are not more beautiful than they are. You are not wiser. Do not shout at them. Do not force a dry entry. That is bad sex. If you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. And remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. What is our need? To be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. Do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. The bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. They have also destroyed the stage. Did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? There is no more stage. There are no more footlights. You are among the people. Then be modest. Speak the words, convey the data, step aside. Be by yourself. Be in your own room. Do not put yourself on.

This is an interior landscape. It is inside. It is private. Respect the privacy of the material. These pieces were written in silence. The courage of the play is to speak them. The discipline of the play is not to violate them. Let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. Be good whores. The poem is not a slogan. It cannot advertise you. It cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. You are not a stud. You are not a killer lady. All this junk about the gangsters of love. You are students of discipline. Do not act out the words. The words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition.

Speak the words with the exact precision with which you would check out a laundry list. Do not become emotional about the lace blouse. Do not get a hard-on when you say panties. Do not get all shivery just because of the towel. The sheets should not provoke a dreamy expression about the eyes. There is no need to weep into the handkerchief. The socks are not there to remind you of strange and distant voyages. It is just your laundry. It is just your clothes. Don’t peep through them. Just wear them.

The poem is nothing but information. It is the Constitution of the inner country. If you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. You are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. Think of the words as science, not as art. They are a report. You are speaking before a meeting of the Explorers’ Club of the National Geographic Society. These people know all the risks of mountain climbing. They honour you by taking this for granted. If you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. Tell them about the height of the mountain, the equipment you used, be specific about the surfaces and the time it took to scale it. Do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. If you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. It will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. It will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence.

Avoid the flourish. Do not be afraid to be weak. Do not be ashamed to be tired. You look good when you’re tired. You look like you could go on forever. Now come into my arms. You are the image of my beauty.

Leonard Cohen

Ferlinghetti …

 

“Pity the nation whose people are sheep,
and whose shepherds mislead them.
Pity the nation whose leaders are liars, whose sages are silenced,
and whose bigots haunt the airwaves.
Pity the nation that raises not its voice,
except to praise conquerors and acclaim the bully as hero
and aims to rule the world with force and by torture.
Pity the nation that knows no other language but its own
and no other culture but its own.
Pity the nation whose breath is money
and sleeps the sleep of the too well fed.
Pity the nation — oh, pity the people who allow their rights to erode
and their freedoms to be washed away.
My country, tears of thee, sweet land of liberty.”

― Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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Albany Poets Presents~Albany Wordfest April 2017

rmEngelhardt

Albany Poets Presents R.M. Engelhardt

Poet and writer R.M. Engelhardt will be the featured reader 2017 Albany
Word Fest edition of the Albany Poets Presents reading series at Restaurant Navona (89 New Scotland Avenue, Albany) on Wednesday, April 19, 2017.

Albany Poets Presents puts a spin on the typical poetry event in the local literary community by highlighting one poet every two months with an interview and Q&A session following the reading

Bio:

R.M. Engelhardt is a veteran poet & writer whose work over the years has appeared in many journals & magazines including   Rusty Truck, Thunder Sandwich, The Boston Literary Review, The NY Times, Full of Crow, Dry Land Lit, The Outlaw Poetry Network, Telepoem & in many others. He is one of the original co-founders’ of Albany Poets and is currently the host of the Troy Poetry Mission, a monthly open mic for poets held in Troy, NY.

 

A Winters’ Tale

C__Data_Users_DefApps_AppData_INTERNETEXPLORER_Temp_Saved Images_15110846_1254903561227693_5052654562430728868_o.jpgA WINTERS TALE

In the evening
The early morning
This small world
Exists in silence

Just the wind
The snow envelops
All lights & this city

And the earth
Has momentarily
Ceased

Traveled back in
Time before man
Ran the show

The trees
Don’t seem
To care

I breathe in
The dark and
Breathe out
The daylight

And the earth
Returns again

Awakes to
The sounds of
Birds, machinery
And church bells

Perhaps

This is the
Closest we ever
Get to heaven

Perhaps

These are
The last moments
Of a sacred God
Who is no longer

Aware

POETS & WRITERS STAND AGAINST TRUMP 01.20.2017 AT 8PM

 

 

POETS & WRITERS STAND AGAINST TRUMP
POETS & WRITERS STAND AGAINST TRUMP  : JANUARY 20th, 2017 AT 8PM

On Friday, January 20th Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as The President of the United States of America.

This will be a very sad day indeed. And as poets and writers everywhere we need to speak up and say what needs to be said, and share those words with our nation and the world.

So here’s what we do.

At EXACTLY 8pm on the evening of Friday, January 20th I’m asking all my friends and fellow writers and poets to simultaneously all post a poem or prose piece against the election and presidency of Trump. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress …

EVERYWHERE.

That’s it, that’s all we need to do but we must all be united in this protest.

No matter who you are, what country, what race or what nationality this is the moment to Stand Against Trump.

All I ask?

Tag the bottom of your posts with these words that say we stand together.

#poetsandwritersstandagainsttrump

#westandagainstthispresident

Please join me, spread the word and invite all other writers and poets.

Join Us On Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1633551503613211/1633847540250274/?notif_t=admin_plan_mall_activity&notif_id=1484335784769388


Thank you.

R.M. Engelhardt