The definition of art is something that I've read a lot of dense philosophical ramblings on about, but tonight lets boil it down to something rather simple: art is about connection to yourself and to a universe of conscious beings who are also muddling through their own definition of art.
It took me a long time to write this review, because I was muddling through my own credentials. Short of private musings I'm not a poet or a scholar of poetry. Watching the Living Poets do their work made me feel deep connection to my species, to my planet, to this city, to bunch of New Age bullshit claptrap that I usually roll my eyes at, because I'm allergic to earnestness.
Good poetry is an inoculation to this kind of allergy. It pushed through the tough barrier of irony I normally mount subconsciously, and into dragged me into authentic contact with other beings. And so in the spirit of that, even though I feel in adequate to evaluate a medium I'm only starting to immerse myself in, I present to you musings on Harvest Moon, a poetry showcase at Shea's with regional and visiting poets.
Dr. Brené Brown, in Daring Greatly, discusses research on vulnerability. At its heart is a catch 22: the major barrier to experiencing human connection is whether or not you feel that you are worthy of human connection.
The poets gave everyone in that room the feeling of connection with each other, despite FOMO and various other Internet meme's regarding how we constantly are looking for something more, there was no feeling of scarcity. The genius of the poets was our genius. We were thrilled to see them flying, we hated to see them pause and stumble, we exulted when they lifted themselves up again.
Below I leave for you a sampling of the lines that hit me hardest, that I was quick enough to scribble down. Art is always a fight between savoring the moment and recording for later thought, Together this group wove their way through the pain and violence we are navigating as a people, the love and food and pain and loss and solidarity that might serve as a waysign was their gift to the crowd.
It's a sign I hold dear, as a lesson to stay open.
...Why do they tell us not to be artists unless you wanna live in your parents basements
I wrote this for myself
I hope you can't tell
I won't try religion for bacon reasons.
I have been been at war
14 hours of my life in the hands in another.
That's not what black lives matter about
...Be weapons of mass construction...
I will teach my son that practice makes permanent not perfect.
(This opening piece really brought home how disconnected our daily lives are from one another.)
Isn't she lovely?
(Always excellent to see new collaborations: in this case with serene and strong models.)
Throw the feed in our face like who can eat the fastest
I keep my sons on my shoulders I hope they can see past it
We need to let more light shine through our freaking blackness
The shallower the minds the deeper the caskets
Well let's say that's a dinner that we just ate...
M e is equal to slut
Slut is always greater than victim
-Bianca, powerfully playing with our perceptions.
Jerusalem isn't the Stanley cup
Unlike hockey you don't cheer for one side of the other
-Sam, with amazing range from the humorous to the confessional to the political.
My one complaint here for the event: The MC was edging into mockery of some works, more out of confusion than mean spirited-ness, but it was jarring to hear jokes after some of the more heavy works.
Curating something like this must be like hanging a show: the neighboring works have to be harmonious or interesting in concert.
You have not silenced a people until you've silenced their poets
If there were one word to describe me it would be
Not good at following directions.
(Something we can all aspire to.)
Can we get much higher
The power of love to create revolution
(Amani brought a super involved audience even deeper into the event: having us proclaim our place in the universe as stardust. If this sounds like the New age claptrap I mentioned earlier, your irony is showing: You are scientifically stardust whether you admit it or not.)
I'm walking stardust dressed to the nines
How dare I.
If you need to dare greatly, spend more time in the company of poets.