LETS TALK ABOUT CONNECTING IN THE NYC SPOKEN WORD POETRY COMMUNITY
Something else that I’ve noticed about the “caliber of poets” on the scene (this is directed to the professional performance poets): anyone, paying attention, can tell if an artist is out there giving us what they have because it is what they DO. (not just for the accolades) Meaning: it is their craft – it is their gift – it is within them; they are giving of themselves to the world as an artist because it is what they crave to do. And they want to share their gift with the world. They appear to want to GIVE for a positive purpose. In spite of anything else.
Also, anyone paying attention can spot the artists who are out there for SELF. They want to get up on that stage – say whatever – get their shine – collect their money – and bounce when their set is over. All in that order. These people do not show any signs of purpose other than getting paid. There is no connection with the people who organized the show, their fellow artists, or with the audience — and no sense of warmth (LOVE of what they do).
What do you think the Art-lover picks up (the vibe) from the artist when they do not see the love that they have for the artist they came to see and/or of their work returned to them, nor see the love of their craft come out of said artist when they are performing on stage? It’s not a good look. And it’s not welcoming for the fan to want to continue supporting.
As an entertainer (speaking of the professional performance artist), when you’re up on that stage, it is YOUR JOB to look as if you are having A BALL. To appear as if you are having the time of your life doing what you’re doing. And it’s also your job to make the audience FEEL like you are HAVING THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE, and that THEY ARE HAVING the time of your life right along with you. Draw the audience in. Make them FEEL CONNECTED to you. That’s how you keep ’em locked in/interested. That’s how you keep ’em coming back to see you.
I’ve seen greatness in the NYC Spoken Word Poetry community; some extremely talented artists. I especially appreciate the quiet poet who is reading for the first time — nerves and courage like wings – keeping them balanced. (I’m usually sitting in my seat wiggling; cheering them on — “you can do it!”) And I appreciate all the poets in-between, up to the professional poets. The artists/shows that I SUPPORT, I support because they’ve displayed that they are sharing TRUTH (from newcomer to veteran — no matter how it reads or sounds) — and they LOVE what they do; who display that they CARE about their community of people (in their profession and the public) and the people they share the stage with. And most importantly, I support (spend my money to see) artists who work on making a CHANGE (whether it’s within (healing/growth) or community); those who want to make a difference and teach what they have learned – pay forward. The youth and newcomers (of any age) are watching. And it’s up to ALL involved: veterans/retired, professional poets, hosts, curators, venues, promoters… all in the community, to set a positive example for them. People shouldn’t be expected to just KNOW. We have to be taught everything we know. So. If you are in the know, show how to keep art going for generations to come.