Ap – ‘Is a Poet a Poet If Nobody’s Snapping?’

“Is a poet a poet if nobody’s snapping? Is she a poet if she doesn’t write for you? Is she a poet if she only writes for her? Is she only artist when someone else says that she is?”

By Button Poetry

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Transcript provided by YouTube:

00:06

I’ve gotten into the routine of spending most nights

00:09

willing my poetry to be…

00:11

to be loud, to be boisterous,

00:14

to enter a stage unapologetically,

00:17

or even my room,

00:19

or even my mouth,

00:21

or even my tongue,

00:22

as if to say I apologize to every poem I write

00:25

for not being a good enough writer to give it the soul it needs.

00:30

But it’s unoriginal, pointless, heard it all before.

00:34

My notebook is just another,

00:36

another drenched in soot from my own forest fires.

00:39

Like can’t you just be worthy of compliment?

00:41

Why must you fill yourself with compliments to call yourself worth,

00:45

to call yourself poetry?

00:47

Is a poet a poet if nobody’s snapping?

00:49

Is she a poet if she doesn’t write for you?

00:51

Is she a poet if she only writes for her?

00:54

Is she only artist when someone else says that she is?

00:57

Is she just…

00:58

just a young and open mouth?

01:00

just busy hands.

01:01

Since when did my piece become too millennial for your consumption?

01:05

When did it become too loud for listening?

01:08

Was it all too personal, too tearstain and teeth mark?

01:12

How many metaphors does it take to buy your sympathy?

01:15

Are all the gut-wrenching details nothing but currency?

01:18

Do you care at all for the poems that breathe here?

01:21

Do you care at all for the poets that breathe here?

01:24

What’s your perfect poem recipe?

01:26

What makes it taste good?

01:28

Do you need a little more pep, a little less sob story?

01:31

What makes a poem consumable?

01:33

Are you only entertained by the poems that can fit into your own mouth

01:37

when a poet gets her heart through her throat

01:39

to regurgitate the moment she broke?

01:41

If nobody in the audience makes a sound,

01:43

did she say anything at all?

01:47

When a poem breaks, do you blink?

01:51

When a poem snaps, do you blink?

01:56

How many times does she have to rewrite her trauma

01:58

to make it easier for you to swallow?

02:02

But it was just too sad, right,

02:04

too not… too not not what you like, to not them,

02:08

to not what they like.

02:09

It’s just a poem.

02:11

It’s just another pain poem.

02:12

It’s just another rape poem.

02:14

It’s just another race poem.

02:15

It’s just a poem.

02:16

It’s just another not good poem.

02:17

But I want to make my poems good, right?

02:19

I’ll make them good.

02:20

I’ll rewrite and rewrite and rewrite

02:23

and rewrite until it’s good.

02:24

But what can make my poem good?

02:26

It can’t be me.

02:28

It can’t be mine.

02:30

So when will my poetry not be too much?

02:33

Or when will my poetry be enough?

02:36

When will it be exactly what you want to hear?

02:40

Or when will my poetry just be for me?

02:43

If I write a poem and others hear it,

02:47

is it still mine?

02:49

Is it still art?

02:51

Is it still good?

02:53

Is it still poetry?

02:55

(cheers and applause)

This post was previously published on YouTube.

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Photo credit: Screenshot from video