Arse Poetica: On Pain Pimping at the Slam

You know that feeling you get when you hear a story, or watch a documentary, or read an article, about some widespread systemic or deeply personal suffering; the sort of thing that leaves you feeling angry about all the fucked up things humans have proven themselves capable of doing to one another on scales variously large and small; the sort of thing that makes you want to disown or destroy whatever forces or people have caused this feeling to exist; the sort of thing that brings steam to your eyes, because you feel it, or people you are close with feel it, or because you’re a human being, meaning you’re an empathic socially organized organism, and so you have the capacity to feel the pain of other human beings deeply, regardless of shared experience or emotional intimacy.  The sort of feeling that makes you grind your teeth and say, “Fuuuuuuuuuuuck ________(s).”

You know… the sort of feeling you often get at a poetry slam?



Well – given the current state of things, the world should make most people feel that way.

Just don’t confuse that feeling with the feeling you get from hearing a good poem.

Caveat: this is not to suggest good poems don’t ever make you feel this way – but it’s probably not that feeling that makes them good poems.

Comments ( 1 )
  • KT says:

    I’ve been thinking about this a bunch lately, before you wrote this post even, but then particularly after you so well articulated it. Thanks for that. I wanted to say so outside of fb as I know it’s not yer preferred medium. If I lived geographically closer I would tell you in person

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