Welcome to National Poetry Month! This month we have invited the Buffalo Poets (bio at bottom) to help us celebrate. Every Friday for the rest of the month they will share their essays, poetry and whatever else strikes them. This is their space for a month and we hope that they can infuse all of us with some of their enthusiasm. Without further ado…The Buffalo Poets!
Fevers of Artistic Dreams
By Noah Levin
What is art today? Is it a stale wind I heard rumor of once? Sometimes it feels like it. Creative innovation exists, I’ve been told, but it seems to me like most artists worth anything are hiding in the underground, huddled together for warmth and communal sustenance.
Ever yell out loud in a room for anyone to hear but realize you’re alone, yet surrounded by others alone in their rooms yelling the same and all ignoring?
And that’s just the problem you see. The information age has us grasped by the jugular and everyone’s yelling. But I see no leadership. No focus. The mainstream, which is the focal point to the gaze of millions, has shirked its responsibility to teach and has become a homogenization of all you can eat vanilla that sells by the pound. Bland, bland, bland. So what’s gotten us here?
I see many problems. Not the least of which is the inspiration of many artists and poets themselves. This is the “look at me” culture. The “pay me” culture. The more wealth we make, as we are taught since birth, the more successful you have become. I have no problems with the concept of money or capitalism itself. The entrepreneurial spirit has never met my wrath. No, my problem is the fact that the underlying message we are all taught in this society is greed, which when it leads to art means play to the middle, play to the mainstream. Get your reward while artistic mainstream society has its floodgates operated by marketing figures, gallop polls, charts, graphs, and parabolas of such dense proportion that they’ll suck your soul before you can blink.
But as a poet, personally, I feel a responsibility. Not to pander to the middle for my reward, not to hope that others will like me, but a need to yell from the top of my voice. Traditionally, poets and artists alike are able to see the world from a different view, a different light and if we are worth anything we can present our message, our creative spirit to the world in the hope of leading in thought; offering something to those that are lying in wait for the moment to pounce. I’m not alone, you know, and you’re the person I’m talking to. The person who right now is looking at their screen yelling “YES! We need to take the reigns! All of us! Let us take our ambitions, our desires, our secrets, our KNOWLEDGE, our thoughts and paint this town, paint this world in different colors and hues and actually make real progress in this world! Because it needs leaders in thought and art and in the merry dance to the pathways of our very souls!”
Knowledge is a gift. A voice is a gift. Art is a gift. Take my hand and we can scream together, as loud as we can. Shake the world, it’s never too late.
Welcome to National Poetry Month. BUFFALO.
Noah Levin has been a core member of the Buffalo Readings since 2003, although he found many a member of the Buffalo Poets living under his roof before then. A writer of many years and a native New Yorker, Noah has been featured at poetry readings up and down both the east and west coast.
Born out of the seedy underbelly of the poetry scene at the turn of the millennium – The Buffalo Poets, known for their unique energy and wit, began hosting open readings as a direct reaction to Slam Poetics and Cookie Cutter Style Poets found in New York City.Hailing originally from New York City, the Buffalo are composed of four core members: Roger Kenny aka King Otho, Aaron Arnout, Noah Levin and David Acevedo. The Buffalo have many artists throughout America including, James Honzik, Michael Franklin, Kevin Callahan and the infamous activist Rafael Bueno.