Friday, December 24, 2004

1:24PM - Central Time

Let me clarify (in response to Rich's facetiousness). I love Alicia Keys' work in R&B. Lyrics as written for music MUST be critiqued differently from poetry. While song-writing is its own poetic form, the weight of communication does not rest solely on the words. Indeed, in many cases, the weight is even greater on the music. As such, it is fine (and often desirable) that the lyrics in song-writing be more simplistic. As such, Alicia Keys writing for R&B is good, and more than adequate; her poetry however... not so much. Still my problems with folks like Keys and Antwone Fisher etc putting out poetry collections is that i feel that many people trat poetry as though it is not something that one works at, necessarily. I doubt that Ms. Keys would attempt to hold a painting exhibition, let's say, because she did a few cancasses in her spare time. Yet folks seem to feel time and again that that's okay for poetry. Poets, to get to the top of their fields (however you define that), work hard at it; often their entire lives, and often out of respect for their craft, will not put out a work for public consumption, because they understand that not enough work has gone into it yet or that it doesn't approach a standard with which they are comfortable. Indeed, i practice the harmonica and the djembe at home (no laughter) in the comfort of my house for my own entertainment, but there is no way i disrespect master drummers or harmonica virtuosos by thinking i should cut an album. It appears that generally folks have no such qualms about poetry.

Now, i encourage everyone to write. I think it is an invaluable way in which to clear one's head; examine one's own politics; indeed, educate oneself. Further, one could argue that i've had some ill-advised publications of my own work. Granted - but i was working real hard at trying to become a good poet and i knew full well that there was no way i could take any of that work to an actual press. Poetry is a marvelous beautiful way in which the conscience of the world is healed; even in its attempt; and of course, i respect everyone's right to publish what they want. After all, some 13 year old in chain-mail named Aaron Carter is singing about being in love and Snoop gets to say "If a pimp in ya crib, Ma, Drop it like it's hot..." but at least they're both doing this stuff in some field they respect enough to work hard at before they go to the world with their product.

I'm done kvetching. The wind chill is minus 15 now!!! It's going to be a severely indoors kinda day. I'm even working out indoors. The furthest out i've got is the garage, with the garage door closed, and that was to jump rope. More updates later...

1 Comments:

Blogger Rich said...

I think the reason musicians and other entertainers put out poetry collections has less to do with the individual artist's ego and more to do with their agent wanting to show the public their client's deep side...more pointedly, it's to conquer yet another facet of the entertainment industry in order to squeeze out more bang for the buck.

Today's pop stars are multimedia mavens; they sing, they dance, they act, they write...and now, they publish. But why poetry? Well. Ask the average person about poetry and they may bust out names like Longfellow, Whitman, Shakespeare, Tennyson...maybe the odd mention of Dickinson or Yeats. Poets are still the upper eschelons of literature, out of touch with common folk, and mere peons cannot possibly understand what they're saying. As such, if you take a talented songwriter like Jewel or Alicia Keys and call them a "poet," you create in the mind of the buyer a perception of the artist as a Deep Thinker, Conceptual Writer, POET.

Then again. Maybe Def Poetry has brought the concept of "poet" to a different level than what we may be used to? Maybe it's brought the term...down? Ooooooo ain't that controversial.

7:27 PM  

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