After having read poetry around the traps for a bit, I still find myself getting attacks of the grumps whenever I hear the title 'performance poet'. It's not that it's an inaccurate summation of what I do when I get up on stage to read, it's just that it seems too specific. Mozart has had his music performed thousands of times, but that doesn't make him a performance musician, does it?
Still, it struck me the other day that maybe I was interpreting these titles in entirely the wrong way. Maybe they something far more obvious:
When you are an emerging writer, people keep you in a box during events until its time for you to perform, and they say, 'And now, it's time for our emerging writer', and you emerge from the box, and everyone will applaud.
A poet who either writes poems about concrete, or who pours his/her concrete in such a way that poems are formed.
Some kid who scrawls their names on a large Grecian column, standing about in that way that large Grecian columns do.
Person who lives in a tunnel and writes about it for no real reason at all, apart from the fact that they like it, okay? When they need food, it gets taken to them by the Undertaker, of course. Sometimes, also, they have a pet dog who drools a lot called Underpants.
A person who cuts poems into their topiary for some arcane reason. Another version of the bush poet actually lives in a topiary bush and occasionally throws out some old poem they've written.
Still not sure what 'performance poet' really means (maybe the Tap Dancing Poet knows the answer). But hey - if we can't take literature literally, then where can we take it?
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