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National Poetry Month: Fashioning Keys For Freedom

Below is a thought provoking article by Buffalo Poet David Acevedo. Be sure to check back next week for more great content from these artists.

By David Acevedo
Attendant Huo asked Te Shan “Where have all the sages since antiquity gone?” Te Shan asks, “What? How’s that?” Huo said “The order was for a flying dragon-horse, but a lame tortoise shows up”. Te Shan let it rest.

Many generations ago, in several societies, it was customary to have poets operate alongside the social workers and political operators because their position was to interpret and act as an intermediary between all parties. Respected classes took poetry and their works were held in reverence and respect, taught in schools and recited, practiced and never perfected. Now poets in modern culture have been pushed from gutters, poor houses, cop bunkers and mad houses, inside cafes and chained to microphones and heard by only those who have the temper to stand against meter and metaphor. Open mic nights are filled with would be speakers and performers, Slam competitions act as the public face of poetic form for media browsers high and low.

My question is where have the creative poets gone? Have they abandoned their need to share their work on stage? My ex girlfriend after a big reading in a small city told me that was the case for her. Countless poets get swallowed up or taken over by the next big speaker- after all we are only people. Even at an open mic, if some one says something poignant, their words are banished by the next speaker and at three minutes a person who does one really remember in a house filled with strangers?

Self-published ‘zines are packed with essays and reviews, but few that I’ve seen contain poetry. The quest[I’m](why the brackets here?) on is to help poets retain their role into society again. Why not have a government appointed poetic official who can interpret all forms of information to explain and clear the air between quarreling parties? One who can go into inner-city and suburban schools, present the form and leave future generations with a seed of words from antiquity and the images to dream?

In America today poets are sidewalk angels and alleyway sages, doomed to rot at open mics and slam events that generate nothing more than revenue for their hosts. The general public doesn’t have time to read a poem, nor even time to pick one from the thousands of needles in countless haystacks. The last literary revolution happened only fifty years ago under the Beat Generation banner and then occasionally stalked venues as a zombie in a beret- now it is disguised as song lyrics that stand as bland and unimaginative. Where has the creativity gone?

Like Nietzche’s Zarathustra who abandons modern society only to return after some time with a circus of events and characters, or Huineng, The Sixth Patriarch of Zen Buddhism who after receiving the Dharma lived, secluded in the mountains for three years and then returned to society. Are there poets alive hidden in the shadows of society calmly waiting for the right conditions?

I’ve never felt the need for poets to become reintegrated into society, cleaned up from gutter scars and callous hands gripping chap book/CD’s at coffee houses. The time is now and it’s up to every poet to rise up and reveal the message held at bay- it’s been long enough. Open the gates to your soul and share your creations with all.

The next day as Te Shan came out of the bath, Huo passed him some tea and Te Shan patted him on the back. Huo said “This old fellow has finally gotten a glimpse”, again Te Shan let the matter rest.
-The Book of Serenity, Case #14 Attendant Huo Passes Tea

Born out of the seedy underbelly of the poetry scene at the turn of the millennium – The Buffalo Poets, known buffallo1.jpgfor 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.

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