It’s weird that when you love something so much you don’t mind when it inconveniences you. A group of my favourite poet/rappers NUKULUK have released a new song (That I henceforth mentally refer to as The Song) and I have developed an obsession with it. I have been listening to it so much I have started to feel weird when its verses are not in my ears. Today, I made myself miss my train because for some reason I *had* to go and panic-buy earphones from SPAR to listen to it on my walk.
So, I am writing this on the cold train station bench and thinking about why we let our own brains be ruled by repeating rhythms and reverby vocals. Thinking about why I sit here helpless as I use up the last 28% of my phone battery listening to The Song. I think about the nights I spent scouring the Youtube comments on The Song’s music video. Or how I recite The Song lyrics so perfectly on a night out that I don’t even regret it in the morning. How I am secretly disappointed when my friends don’t feel the same way about The Song (Do humans who are not singing The Song even understand me anymore?). The song becomes an extension of myself. Time is now kept in 4 minute and 36 second increments.
Maybe that is a little dramatic, but I’m in love with the way poets are playing with new structures, not just on the page, but in our eyes and ears, turning it into art, into movies, colouring outside the lines and exploring new ways to find words that validate who we are and to challenge what is not spoken about enough. Recently I have been discovering that all of this, to me, is it’s own kind of poetry too.
Poetry is not trapped in an imagined rural past, distant and frozen, but a melodious joy-ride. We grab hold with both hands, dragging it through the streets of the twenty-first century with no fear we might somehow break it. Poetry is becoming infectious, dripping between mediums and textures, and I think it’s the best thing that has happened to the poetry world in a long time (even if I did miss my train because of it).
So here is a list of my favourite poem(ish) musicians/poets/artists that are redefining what poetry can be
Ordered by theme:
NUKULUK – Ooh Ah
Danez Smith – Broken n Rice
English Teacher – R&B
Caleb Femi – Coping
Danez Smith – Self Portrait as 90’s R&B Video
Ocean Vuong – You Guys
Squid – The Cleaner
Kaveh Akbar – Portrait of the Alcoholic Floating in Space with Severed Umbilicus
Shira Erlichman – I’m Sitting with Bjork in my Bathtub
Lynks – Everyone’s Hot
Wayne Holloway Smith – Some Waynes
Dry Cleaning – Scratchcard Lanard
Billy NoMates – No
Franny Choi – To the Man Who Shouted “I Like Pork Fried Rice” at Me on the Street
Zia Ahmed – Mango
Sinead O’Brien – Kid Stuff
Sky Hopkinana – Fainting Spells
Are you also a lover of poetry and music? Join us on 23 November for Reece Willams’ This Kind of Black, on 26 November for Cocktails and Cinquains, and for Monday Mic Night which takes place on the first Monday of every month!