“I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of beauty.” ~Edgar Allan Poe
While I adore the brilliant poet and pioneer, I must humbly disagree with his view of poetry. To Poe, poetry was beauty; it was a mathematical sequence to success, as shown well in his work The Philosophy of Composition. He saw poetry as perfection, rhythms, and rhyme. This is a very narrow view of poetry.
Poetry is expression, it is beauty as much as it is horror, it is healing as much as scars, it is raw, unrefined, imperfections put to paper, put to word. Poetry is human, at its very core. Spoken word poetry is messy. It’s an organized chaos of harmonies and dissonance; leaving casualties in the forms of tears of sorrow and joy, split sides of laughter, and silences of contemplation. Poetry at its core is human. Spoken word at its core is a battle.
I have returned to the big red trailer in downtown Las Vegas twice since the first installment of the Battle Born Slam series, taking the stage both times. As before, I saw people of all representations of life, men, woman, young and old, listened, smiled, and poured their hearts and souls off the small stage at the back of the trailer. These people were no Dickensons, Thoreaus, Seusses, or Poes but each stood like masters of the messy trade before me.
Perhaps it was appropriate that the first time I took the stage, I read one of my own works entitled “Small,” as that is how I felt among these fantastic, masters of Battle Born.
Happily humbled, by the poets before me, I took to the stage and spoke of a messy day. A day between broken loves and broken hearts, a day full of uncertainty, a day when the sun shone and the clouds lingered peacefully, a day when we sang louder than the radio and our smiles were more persistent than our problems. I spoke of welcoming the sensation of being small. I spoke of being infinite in the most humble of ways. I spoke of being, at my very core, innately human.
In the words of a good friend,
“We are all messy some times”
This is poetry.
It does not take a Dickenson, Thoreau, Seuss, or Poe to write poetry. It does not take beauty, rhythm, or rhyme. It only takes an idea and a voice.