Here's the thing--I really don't know poetry. I can quote sonnets, I can spout just enough fancy, highbrow couplets to validate my "English Major" parking pass, but in general?
Uhhhh, I like it? I am not the biggest fan of sitting back and reading it, and it's not my go-to for a night in my hottest yoga pants when I'm hoping to lure my husband from The Walking Dead, by I DO like it. Mostly, I like the spoken-word variety.
Holy Bukowski, spoken-word poetry takes some serious cojones. It's as if the poet is saying "HANG ON A MINUTE, let me CRACK OPEN THE CHASM OF MY SOUL FOR YOU TO JUDGE." **snaps**
It's a shockingly intimate medium.
I'm a composer. When I write something, it's typically not autobiographical. (My life would make for one hell of a strange and surreal musical. OOOH, I kind of want to write that now. Working title? Off the Rez and Out of Her Mind. I'll play myself, but I insist that my love interest be Michael Fassbender.) Anyhow, moving on from jazz hands and shuffling off to Buffalo--other people perform my work. Typically, it takes many people. The audience rarely considers the composer when they first hear and see a piece. They see the first chair violinist tuning her instrument, they see the soprano inhaling that first, deep breath. They see the divas and the tenors and feel the swell of the eternal notes.
They don't see my face as I tell people how I lost my virginity.
Ok, maybe they do, but that was at a party, and really? There was no rhythm and no one snapped.
Because I am a composer, I cannot help but draw comparisons between the two, though. Think of rap music--it is, essentially, very schematic spoken-word poetry.
For example, Watsky. George Watsky is both a crazy-wonderful spoken-word poet, and he's a crazy-talented rapper who has been featured on Ellen and he also has a wildly-popular YouTube channel.
Here is a poem from almost ten years ago, wherein he discusses, with fierce bravery, virginity.
This is one of my favorite songs of his, and it shows the same sort of intensity he shows in his poetry.
I'm completely in awe of all of you who can do this. The ability to form feelings into words, that are equally as musical as song without a single drum beat or key hit. In the interns office, I'm fortunate enough to work with some very talented poets, and every time they read their work aloud, I feel like I'm in a sort of creative hurricane. It's both a vacuum and a surfeit of energy in my mind, because I don't know how it starts or ends, but I know that I like it. I admire it. I wish I had the capability, but the closest I'll ever get to encapsulating emotions in performance is going from sharp to flat, or piano to forte. I'm ok with that as long as they're still speaking.