R.M. Engelhardt started sharing his poetry at local open mics in the early-90s and has since been a driving force in keeping the poetry and spoken word alive and well in the area. He has hosted a number of readings and events over the years and continues to welcome writers new and old to the stage.In this clip, Engelhardt reads “DeGeneration” at the Borders Open Mic on January 25, 1995. This poem was recorded for the CD, “Volume: A Compilation of Poets, Live”, produced by Mary Panza and Steve Clark chronicling the poetry scene at the time at such venues as the QE2, Margarita’s, and Borders.We talk about political poetry, what the arts community looks like in a post-pandemic world, and how he landed at Lark Hall for his monthly open mic.
It is and will always be what you say, what you write and what art you actually create that truly matters the most. Popularity doesn’t determine your worth and the followers will always come & go looking for the next big thing. That’s the unfortunate side effect of too much mass media. People not noticing what’s amazing or beautiful, what’s lasting or meaningful right in front of their own eyes. Poetry & art, music isn’t fast food. It’s eternal.
What was once in this world just considered impossible or even science fiction has now become a reality. We have lost so many human lives in such a short amount of time and we have seen our leader’s insincere, disturbed & selfish reactions to it. We have all watched the news and are all now quarantined/forced, let alone reminded every single day of fear, disease and death. Needless to say I’m angry and I will now and until the end of my own days (no matter how long those days may be) will continue to write and as witness create the words that must be said and say what should be said in these times and I encourage all my friends & fellow writers to do the same.
Sometimes in life we go through bouts of failure. No inspiration, the chips are down.
Maybe you’ve lost a friend or a loved one. Maybe you’re behind on the rent. But whatever you’re going through? Never stop writing. Never stop creating. Find those things that mean the most to you. Let them inspire you. Dig into the trenches and fight the war.