In To speak, or not to speak, just write: Who are the real poets?, one reader, Erica Smith, had such a question. She wanted to know who are the “real” poets? Are you more of a real poet if you simply write to keep it on the page or does it make you more of a real, true poet because you bring those words to life to speak it out loud as spoken word poetry? Does it really matter at all or is there really even an answer to this question?
My response was shared, now hear the top 10 responses [ in no particular order ] of what some other local Hampton Roads poets had to say in response to such a question!
(1) Because I do – actually “read and write” poetry as well as “listen to and perform” the Spoken Word, I cannot place any more relevance on one more than the other… each reaches a different audience. Being able to do both is like being ambidextrous. I would feel severely disabled if I could only use my left hand or my right hand. I say don’t write or recite yourself into a box.
~ Nathan M. Richardson, Poet / Author / Literary Consultant
(2) When I first read the question I was mad, I thought how can society tell me I’m not a real poet because I don’t put my voice to my words? I’m not a real poet because I don’t put my voice to my words. My emotions are real whether I can speak, hear or write them for others to experience. My pain is real even if you can’t see me bleed or feel the suffering. A baby cries but because it can’t speak do we disregard the soundz/ A poet is a poet just by virtue of words that inspire or motivate others to action. A dead poet is still considered a poet centuries later. – Donna aka Diva D
(3) I write because it calms me. It helps get me through to the next moment in life after all the bad things have happened. [For example], I just left DC, had the worst 2 days of my life… a lot of laughs but I just had a bad time. My pen is the reason why I can forget about it. Then the next time I go to DC, I’m going to own the place! I write because without it, I don’t think I would honestly be alive. Why do I recite poetry? In hopes that my words might inspire someone else. These aren’t just words. These words come from the darkest corners of our souls and we say them for the entire world to know! – Blakghost
(4) Whoever says they are a ”real poet” as opposed to being a fake one is a ”real a**”. Writing is writing, reciting is reciting… no matter the subject matter. Whatever and however you want to express yourself whether through prose, poem, rhyme, haiku, essay or just straight talking [“smack”] on the mic, you can do that because I want the same courtesy. There are not set rules on how to do this, of ”how it’s supposed to be”. Carry your own self! It’s how I do! Do you and the people will choose what they like. – Godchild
(5) I just do it for the love of it, I do not like to be forced to write on particular subjects. It takes away from what I am trying to do, and anyone who knows me, knows it takes me forever to write one poem, which is why I rarely battle. Call me a poet or not, I have nothing left to prove to anyone. – Douglas McClain Cuffee
(6) I feel like it’s a balance. The same poet who can speak out may not be that creative at writing and that writer may have words or creativity but can’t “deliver” it to save his life. So in my opinion, I feel like the “real” poet is the one who can paint the picture with a pen AND paint that same pic verbally.
– Black Royalty
(7) Proverbs 23:7a says “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” I am a poet by the very thought of it. Man tries to create a definition of a poet in an attempt to place artistic expression in a box, but I can’t be contained and neither can my poetry. Everyday my voice changes and even when I can’t speak with an audible sound, my words still yell for others to take notice. Poetry gives my silent generation a voice, even if I never stand before man and recite it. I’m not a poet merely because I can write or even recite, I am a poet because I think I am one. – Nicole Ellis
(8) The “Real Poets” are the poets who stay true to themselves despite what the crowd wants, the host wants, other poets want, anybody wants…the “Real Poets” are the poets who aren’t looking to please what’s outside of themselves, but what’s within them, no matter how they do it. – Lanae Zeporia
(9) For me, it is not a question of “who the real poets are” but “who are the real people”. They are those that are channels of light, awareness, truth and healing; coming in love and peace. We are all the voice of our story, that is rhythm in this life. Poets are REAL PEOPLE!
P.O.E.T.s : Prophetic, Progressive Orators of Enlightened Time
In theory, if you are harnessing pure feelings of Peace, your frequency is Higher, Faster, Stronger. Let your origin be your guide in a dis-illusioned universe.
R.A.P.I.T.U.P. = Rhythm and Poetry Illuminate Time Uplifting Peace – Dani Al-Basir Spratley
(10) I don’t think you can find an answer to, who’s the better poet?, because we have all under minded the obvious, we are all poets! Being our humanly selves is the most poetic thing in the world.
Poetry has been a marvelous conception. Back in earlier times, language and words were elegant on paper and adding a voice to it alongside the imagination was only enhancing the beauty of it. With spoken word, a breath of fresh air was injected when the beauty of words were whispers not having to be rushed to paper but preserved in vows.
Writer poets may make more money, but spoken word artists hold more than their own.
Spoken word artists give a performance before an audience, like entertainers, by talking or rhyming relatable stories, thoughts, and messages [through recitation] instead of reading aloud from a piece of paper like writer poets. Spoken word poets thrive at this because a certain cadence and confidence instantly can take you from just a poet to a starred crowd favorite!
Writers have more opportunities and publications, but not the independence. Most writers have to do what they have to in order for them to get to the place they really want [to go or be at].
In theory, poets are poets, no matter if they perform or just read from books. There are no hybrids in literature! We are all capable of doing this both aloud or on paper as long as we learn to express ourselves and be ourselves 100%!
– Balik Whack, Writer / Poet / Author, quoted from his article The Speaking Word, which you can read in its entirety posted on the Chesapeake Poetry Examiner’s Facebook Page under the DISCUSSIONS tab!
What is your definition of a “real” poet? What do you think classifies someone as a “real” poet? Share your thoughts and comments below! I’m very interested to know your thoughts as I’m sure other readers would be too!
Feel free to browse through any poet’s respective links to articles in which they are featured in!
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