Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Humble beginnings...

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Music has been instrumental in writing my poetry. Ahh, I can see the head nods in agreement because it may be true for you as well. I remember the first time I heard The Message by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five…

Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to the edge
I’m tryin’ not to lose my head ah huh-huh-huh-huh
It's like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
How I keep from going under…

The Message made me want to go out and testify its truth. Instead, I opted to write my thoughts in a notebook designated for math homework. Screw math. I had life on my mind and the best thing I learned in math class was how to count money. I wouldn’t call what I’d written poetry, but I knew it was something…different. Unlike anything I’d ever seen, but definitely like something I’d heard before. Déjà vu?

Fast forward quite a few years and memories find me in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soaking in the hip-hop exhibit. Missy Elliot’s bubble suit was rather large, but the only thing that truly caught my attention was hand-written lyrics of Brenda’s Got a Baby by the late, great Tupac Shakur. There it was again… The need to write something down, yet, at the time I understood it had a name: inspiration. I knew there were times when I wanted to write something grand, life-changing even, and absolutely could not. But I was poetically immature and didn’t understand that I couldn’t evoke something so profound all by my lonesome. As I got lost in the sheets of notebook paper ‘Pac scribbled over, I realized he and I had something in common: poetry. What he put to the perfect rhythm, were thoughts I actually lived. It was that moment, and it alone, that solidified my entrance into the realm of poetry and understanding music was fuel for my words.

I want you to travel down memory lane and think about how your involvement in poetry came about. I’m also interested in reading about things that inspire you to write. Please share.

Stay peace

Darnetta ‘Genesis’ Frazier


Theresa Göttl Brightman said...

I'd definitely list music as an inspiration. I hang out with a lot of musicians/singer-songwriter-types. I hadn't written much poetry for a couple of years until I met some of these wonderful folks, who inspired me to start writing in a new and exciting way again.

John B. Burroughs said...

Music and poetry are almost inseparable for me! One morphs into the other and back without me even realizing it sometimes.

P.S. I love that Flash track - brings back some memories.

Vertigo Xavier said...

You've hit on something that I've been trying to express. There's a reason I'm usually wearing rock band tees at poetry readings. You'll soon be seeing this on a flier. I'm also working on a poetic piece utilizing this idea (utilizing many, many quotes, hence me not calling it a poem), but don't know if I'll ever complete it.

Poetry IS Rock 'n' Roll.Rock 'n' Roll IS Poetry.Believe it or not, I garnered my interest in poetry as a teenager from comic books. J.M. DeMatteis' "Spiderman: Kraven's Last Hunt" utilized a rewritten version of William Blake's "The Tiger" (rewritten to be "The Spider"). Then, James O'Barr's "The Crow." Poetry and song lyrics appear throughout the entire book, some on pages by themselves and clearly cited, sometimes as lines spoken by the characters in the book. One of the poems quoted by Eric (the character portrayed by Brandon Lee in the film) was "Mother Goose's Garland" by Archibald MacLeish. This poem is where my pen-name comes from. I was never quite able to distinguish the lyrics from the poems, though. I knew the words to The Cure's "The Hanging Garden" as a poem long before I ever heard the song.

Vertigo Xavier said...

hmmm... it messed up my line breaks there. The "Poetry IS Rock 'n' Roll" and "Rock 'n' Roll IS Poetry" lines should have been double spaced...

Shelley Chernin said...

To answer the "how your involvement with poetry came about" question -- For me, it actually started as a form of self therapy. Depressed and emotionally blocked, it was a way to express feelings. Over time, I've found other ways to do that, but in the process discovered that I enjoyed the writing for itself.

Also, at the time I started, I wanted to impress a man who writes poetry. That motivation reminds me of teenagers who get involved in music as a way to make themselves sexually attractive. I suspect music works better for that than poetry. Also teens better than middle-age.

My current poetry is often inspired by or responsive to music, but that doesn't necessarily show in the poems.

A recent poem was inspired by The Killers' song "Human" and Richard Thompson's song "A Heart Needs a Home." I played those songs over and over, compulsively, for days while the poem worked its way through me. The poem, on the surface about the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, might not appear to a reader to have anything to do with those songs, but I know the songs are playing between the lines.

Poetic Genesis said...

@ T.M. Gotti... I need a few friends like yours. Lately, I've been going old school for inspiration. It's hard to get inspired by some of the stuff today. But if I had a friend to play this acoustic guitar that's collecting dust in my pantry, I'd be a-okay!

@Jesus Crisis...totally feel you on that!

@Vertigo comic books? That's interesting.

@Shelley Chernin...Though I didn't start writing as a way of coping, I've definitely used it to get through some tough times, so I understand it's power as you do. I remember having a poet 'crush' that made me work on my skills

Thanks for stopping by all!


The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau