i just foud you on youtube, but the last 3 videos obviously made me a fan and you an inspiration. you are amazing, keep it up. im really thinking of becoming a poet, but do not know where to start. where did you start and what are you working on now?
Hey, thanks for the support! I really appreciate it :D
I started performing spoken word poetry at 17 and I didn’t win my first competition until 2 years later. I would recommend that you submerge yourself in as much of the culture as you can. Go to open mics, go to your local slam, watch videos on youtube, read read read, and of course write! Even if you don’t think it’s worth it, you have to keep writing and keep practicing. If you get bored of that, go edit your old poems. After that read more and more.
I honestly started out knowing little to nothing about poetry and spoken word and now I’m preparing for my second national tournament and booking together a national tour so I can showcase my poetry across the country! I’m always writing and always trying to learn more and more. You can never get better if you don’t practice or study the thing you want to become great at.
Want to see Where Are You Press read in person? Did you want to see those Portland poets perform live before your eyes?
This Saturday WAYP is hosting a reading in Portland, Oregon at the wonderful Ford Food + Drink! If you’re in the area, we would love to see you at this event! We’ve gathered the best poets in the Portland area for this reading and we wouldn’t want you to miss this incredible show!
Come say hi!
a poem for Hip-Hop
Kendrick Lamar splits open monsters
and fights on the virtue that to get stronger,
you only go to battle with armies
that are capable of stampede.
Those who tread lightly are not worthy
of your warpath.
Lupe Fiasco ties his tongue into a
cat’s cradle and whispers sweet everythings
into the ears of middle schoolers who
by the end of the night will know
the brutality of the Audubon Ballroom
Talib Kweli lectures behind a podium with
Howard Zinn to college-somethings
about the nature of history:
everyone is a writer
but the best authors do not pen the past:
only the victorious do.
A columnist in the New York Daily said that Hip Hop emphasizes
"the crudest materialism in which the ultimate goal
is money and it did not matter how one got it.”
Jay-Z sits on the steps of his former housing project with Oprah Winfrey,
then shakes the hand of the most powerful man of the free world.
He and Beyonce are American royalty
and their bloodlines are unconcerned with its
50 Cent demonstrates a contrasting irony
as his money grows up to be worth
his namesake tenfold and then some.
Sean Combs drapes the resting place
of The Notorious B.I.G. in jewels as
he whispers to his best friend,
Don’t worry, I made us enough money
that it’ll follow me into the afterlife.
We’ll be more than taken care of when we meet again.
Republican senate member Chris McDaniel
was quoted to say that Hip-Hop is a culture that
"values rap and destruction of community values
more than it does poetry.”
Kanye West and Nina Simone
swing dance in an orchard
as the farmers around them
peddle their strange fruit.
Tupac Shakur figures out the equation for immortality.
It is 6 albums, 8 movies,
and an understanding that
power moves create fame;
influential motion crafts legacy.
Andre 3000 writes a song about the
devastating separation between himself and his love.
The world cannot help but pulse to it.
Andre knowing this, before the second chorus
in Hey Ya!, laments:
"y’all don’t wanna hear me.
You just wanna dance.”
Across the internet, Hip Hop is not regarded as a musical genre.
Criticized for lack of originality, vapid lyrics, and a monotonous sound,
the overwhelming statement is that Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.
The RZA and Just Blaze
sit behind monitors and soundboards
as they begin to summon the spirits of
Bill Withers, Gladys Knight and Curtis Mayfield
into the studio.
Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.
Nicki Minaj simpers and then ferociously
spits at kings as they watch the queen conquer.
Female named hurricanes kill more
than their male counterparts.
Hip-Hop has nothing to do with music.
The beat slam rumbles the speakers of your
'98 Toyota Camry and transforms these
3 minutes and 32 seconds
into a parade etched into a dream that grips your shoulders
and the only way to release the tension that rides on top of you
is to take these songs as an instruction,
it was written like a manual.
Hip-Hop has everything to do with everything.
She doesn’t need to be defended,
doesn’t need to explain herself,
doesn’t need your permission.
Hip-Hop walks with the hypocrisies and the benedictions
of every great art form in our existence.
You only notice her because of
how fresh her hips swing,
how zealous her disciples are,
how scared you get when she uses those big words in conversation,
and you beg her,
talk to me in a way that I can understand.
And you turn up the radio and feel safe.
The scraping of metal to metal,
fracturing of glass, the ejection of
airbag cushioning your chest:
a boxing glove hugging your sternum.
Siren songs follow shortly after.
People ask, Are you okay?
Air at 2:47 AM seems to carry sound better.
It’s clearer, cleaner; there’s less muddled
space for the sonic notes to travel. As they
nestle neatly into my ears, I stand
feet away from the train tracks.
The whistle yells at the top of it’s lungs:
Please look out for me. I don’t want to hurt you.
When you left, there wasn’t any rubble,
debris, or disaster zone. Ground zero
looked exactly like the cutting ceremony.
The worst part was the silence. Nothingness
pounded my ears closed. I couldn’t even
hear my own breathing. I forgot what a
Cacophony by Alex Dang! (via wordsoftakumi)
cold drinks at all time, so cold the
condensation drips off in icebergs.
Communication strictly in the form
of laughter or inside jokes developed
under the shade that works so hard to
keep you refreshingly lazy. Oh, and
windows rolled down. Music up.
This balance is crucial because
the roads have transformed their
asphalt bodies into thin trapeze wire.
Also, sweat. A lot of sweat. Ain’t
no season like one where you feel
the hands of hell try to swallow the world
around you but finally, all that adolescent
wishing has come true. You’re too cool you
conductor of twilight madness, you
streetlight centurion, you no watch tan-line
haver because finally you have all the time
to do all the nothing and everything you wanted.
Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t deserve it.
Who else breaks record high temperatures better
than you? ❞
Summertime Radness by Alex Dang!
Come on out to hang with Matt Gauck and help him celebrate the release his book!
7PM, Detroit House, 6305 N. Detroit Ave, Portland, Oregon.
FULL INFO HERE!
Clementine von Radics (Where Are You Press)
Alex Dang (Where Are You Press)
Matt Gauck (Retirement Fund/Pioneers Press)
Steven Son (From the Margins Publishing)
Otis Redding - Try A Little Tenderness
A brain calculated this.
A brain will send 200 neurons a millisecond to process emotions.
A heart immediately knows love. ❞
excerpt from “A Chestful of Headstrong” by Alex Dang!
I don't even know what to say to you, but i feel obligated to say something. Your writing has shaped so much of me, and I am so grateful. I wonder what it's like to be you and to know how much you inspire those around you, and I hope that you understand how admired you are. I feel like you know me but you obviously don't. Thank you for doing the whole "being you thing" so incredibly well. You are loved!
Thank you so much Anon. This is so incredibly kind and generous. We all go through rough patches in our lives and I’ll look at this if I ever am having a bad day. <3