The Art of Tellin’ It Like It Is
Freedom. How sweet it is. You speak of freedom, I speak of freedom, we all speak of freedom- a word that often rolls off of slippery tongues. This idea of freedom is merely a myth and still resonates in a dream often re-created in stories or poetry. That itself is proof that freedom is something most are still in search of and desire. The explorers and storytellers? -The Def Jam poets. They’re like their very own poet’s society where they cease the moment when they’re on stage and reveal an organic representation of their struggle to find freedom. Embellished with emotion and awe-inspiring voices that send chills up your spine, each poet redesigns the stage into a political platform where matters like racial identity, gender identity, crime, poverty, violence and greed cannot be ignored. I’d say they’re rebels without a dangerous cause, just a cause. Their poems are a peaceful demonstration for intolerance, giving a voice to those who are tolerant of what they no longer have the strength to overcome.
In light of a poetry session that took place (to my surprise) at a neighborhood coffee shop in the middle of suburbia, I decided to write this post. Writing in a coffee shop- you just never know what you’re gonna get. That’s what I always say. I was excited to listen to some poetry from some fellow suburbanites. I often poke my ears around the city for some heartfelt poetry sessions so I was pleased to see that one was happening right here, right in my own backyard. I love me some poetry. It’s my weakness, I have to admit. Maybe I got it from my Pops.
These poets were my saviour for the night. I didn’t think I could bear another corny 80’s love song relentlessly piercing my ears (
courtesy of the coffee shop owners). The coffee shop poetry sesh sort of inspired me to write this post. I went home and submersed myself into some spoken word courtesy of Def Jam Poetry. It’s not hard to fall in love with most of them. I’ve been a fan ever since a professor of mine had our class listen to a poem by Jill Scott.
As much as I love the written word, there is something immensely powerful about transforming the written word into the spoken word. Here are some very powerful poems that touched me (Explicit Content Below).
I’ve always been inspired, enthralled, and moved by Def Jam Poetry. The power of the spoken word relieves us of silence and has the power to move you and the power to leave you speechless. Writer’s write what they know. Never shy of a surprise, these poets establish a social climate in a room where issues like oppression, racism, and identity are confronted. An intellectual outcry, their poetry gives the streets a life of their own, translating real-life problems into prose. Because Def Jam Poetry is reaching such a diverse audience made up of different races and class backgrounds, often the message is either misinterpreted or gets lost in translation. This is what troubles me. Often you’ll hear critics stripping poets of their expression saying “they swear too much” or “they promote violence” or “they promote misogyny.” To the culturally ignorant: these poets are narrators of reality- their reality.
Now, the point of poetry isn’t to change the world. Most poets know they aren’t going to conquer the world with one poem at a time. Poetry is about one opening up the world they live in and letting others in. It’s about reciting true accounts and making history in ways that will reach many people (the oldest form of sharing and remembering information). In return, what does the poet wish for?-An outsider’s appreciation for their story.
On that note, “How do poems grow? They grow out of your life.” -Robert Penn Warren