Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.
“Somewhere in this coward’s mouth is a brave heart’s confession.”
It’s possible to talk about what performance adds to a poem; but it’s also possible to talk about what it takes away. A poem on the page has a different (not better or worse, just different) set of tools to use to do the work that it wants to do. For example, page poets use line breaks and enjambment to create conversations between ideas, to shine different lights on words that may mean one thing in one context, and something very different in another. Seeing the words next to each other, seeing how the lines break, seeing how the poem “moves” on the page, is a different experience than listening to a poem.
While spoken word poems can still use juxtaposition and transitions to do some of that work, this poem takes it to another level. One can picture, while listening, where the lines might be breaking, and how the different ideas flow in and out of one another, mirroring the thought-stream of someone dealing with anxiety. It’s a powerful exploration of what a poem can do when its form, content, and delivery intertwine and work toward a common purpose.