“He’s taken our minds at the most beckoned point, and restrained them before they’ve wandered through the garden of ideas.”
This may come as a shock to you, but when I was in high school I was really into writing, especially about “my generation”, and wanted to confront you with my poetry. This is something I feel about 70% embarrassed of and about 30% proud of, despite the fact that I think pretty much everyone that I feel really close to in my life was this kind of kid. I spent the majority of my high school days sitting in coffee shops, writing bad rip-off Nirvana lyrics and publicly reading books that everyone reads in high school and thinks are so amazing and transcendent, calling every close friend I had “the Dean Moriarty to my Sal Paradise” or whatever. AND LUCKY FOR ME, the 90’s were so encouraging of “expression” and performance art and the Beat Generation and general pretentiousness. It’s hard to believe that SLAM POETRY was happening everywhere and for a brief period, was somehow popular and on MTV and stuff. I had dreams of becoming the new Maggie Estep, which just makes me want to cut my eyeballs out when I think about that now.
Somehow my dad bought the cassette of this woman, Meryn Cadell, who was similar to Maggie Estep but different in that she put her poetry over SOME BEATS. I thought she was so cool and older and DATED and had a real life on which she could reflect in her pooooertry. And can you believe that this jam was actually on the radio?! I think my sister and I still know every single word to every single “song” on this tape.
There’s something kind of insane about all this performance that I love and wish would come back, but perhaps the downside to this kind of thing (besides general obnoxiousness) is that we had to hear Courtney Love read Kurt Cobain’s suicide note over loud speakers in a public park, which I ALWAYS say was the real low point of the 90’s for me. Go back in your room, too many feelings!!!
Yes yes YES. I, too, was way influenced by The Great MTV Poetry Embrace of the Mid-90s and wrote lots of slam poetry in my journals and read Ntozake Shange out loud in my bedroom. I always loved the idea of growing up and going to lots of poetry readings until I actually went to one and realized it’s not very often I enjoy listening to boys I’m not in love with read poems about girls with “90s thighs.” The only SLAM poetry reading I ever went to was in the basement of CBGB and there was a really bad atmosphere there because some people were talking at the back and the poets were angry but weren’t channeling it into their poetry, and I left feeling awkward and hardly inspired and just kind of yelled at.
Also, to this day I can’t listen to Tyra Banks say “in my hands I hold one photo, and that photo represents the model who will continue in the hopes of being America’s Next Top Model” or whatever without hearing the cadence of Meryn Cadell and thinking she’s about to say “one hundred, percent, acrylic.”