Last night, I had the absolute pleasure and good fortune of running into a family friend here in Scotland (whom I knew from Dubai — talk about synchronicity) who recommended I go watch Loud Poets at the Scottish Storytelling Center.
I didn’t know what to expect, but as an avid fan of spoken word poetry, I was not disappointed. Loud Poets is truly a generational catharsis; a purging of every fear, every anxiety, every bodily cavern in which we reach into pools of the deepest love and bathe ourselves in it. Their poems covered love, racism, social media, the divine feminine, millennial insecurities, and, of course, the end of the world and the coming zombie apocalypse.
The acts were accompanied by a band of three musicians. They were interspersed with hilarious skits projected onto the large video screen behind that parodied typical forms of video advertising, from an Apple-inspired piece about the future of innovative, commercial poetry to 1980s style infomercials. Truly, they were so funny, I wish I could share them on here! Loud Poets, if you’re reading this, upload them to your YouTube channel!
Letter to a refugee
Katie Ailes’ letter to a refugee had me in tears. I’ll admit, I am sometimes weary of such pieces, well-intentioned though they are. It’s just that, honestly, these things can sometimes fall into the pits of the Orientalist notions that create the situations they condemn in the first place. This was not one of those cases. As someone who works with refugees and studies the places where they come from and the situations that create them, I found Katie’s heartfelt ode to be everything I ever wanted to tell those wonderful, brave, talented people in my life. It was honest, raw and extremely self-reflective. It was naturalistic and hopeful all at the same time. And perhaps most importantly, it was vulnerable and open.
She did not claim to speak for anyone. She just wished to express her full support and hold space for them to come into their own and speak their own truths, which is the greatest gift any ally can give. I spoke to her about it afterwards and I truly felt the soul of this woman.
In fact, all of the performers had strong energies and to just be in a room with them; to hear them pour their hearts out into the space was an experience that even the biggest energy-skeptic wouldn’t be able to deny the impact of.
Perspectives & poetry
The other pieces were witty, brave and unapologetically authentic. Another piece by one of the guest poets was an ode to sorrow that conceptualized the role of pain in character in a way that I have been thinking intensely about recently, but had not yet put into words. Isn’t it funny how an entire audience can witness the same show and, given the nature of perspective as a framework informed by every experience and thought we have ever had, will see it completely differently. Each viewer will be imparted with a different consciousness based on the exact point from which they are viewing it, and such is why art is the universal teacher. I got from this show answers to questions I hadn’t even thought about formulating yet. But they were there.
Saint Petersburg: the city of the arts
When I was living in Saint Petersburg in 2014, one of the things I loved most about that incredible city was how the arts seemed not to have died the death they are in many parts of the world. Those beautiful streets were filled with dancers, circus performers, and, of course, poets. The jazz clubs were full with the city’s youth, as were the ballet halls, which were frequented like cinemas. Living in New York where the ballet is an elitist institution reserved for those who can fork out the price of a ticket, I was inspired. The love of literature in that city was unparalleled, and it awakened in me a new joy in rediscovering the beauty of the forgotten arts.
Poetry is back!
Just a few years later, poetry is making a comeback all over the world as people discover its potent and unique capacity to inject magic into the consciousness of the observer. Poetry is being energized by a new generation of conscious youth who have inherited a world that they have much to say about. Poetry is back and I couldn’t be more glad about it!
If you have the chance, check out these talented performers. If not, at least check out their YouTube channel and their poetry books.
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