Why don’t we slam?

5 Feb

Yesterday a stranger asked me how I was doing. I was feeling ill, and so I responded that, to be honest, I wasn’t doing all that well where my health was concerned. He raised his eyebrows and just sort-of shrugged.

When you think that our cultural history consists entirely of artists who were depressed, isolated, lonely and insecure, creating work that is notoriously dark and tormented, it’s strange to imagine that at an interpersonal level New Zealanders really struggle to cope with expressions of insecurity.

It’s considered embarrassing, disarming and inappropriate to unleash your inner voice. And I’m certain that’s what makes contemporary poetry perfectly incongruous with our disposition as a nation.

Which is a shame really, because skillful poetry is a pure and powerful form of art.


4 Responses to “Why don’t we slam?”

  1. Rosabel February 7, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

    I don’t think it’s a phenomenon specific to New Zealand. To some extent, it’s a pretty ubiquitous social norm – where intimate self-disclosure only becomes acceptable within close relationships. It would be the same if you had replied to their question with “awesome I just had a wank out the back so yeah I’m feeling pretty relaxed” *cue shaking their hand

    I’ve been getting into a lot of poetry though. love love love

    I didn’t watch your videos (that would be too much procrastination) but based on the titles I’m assuming you’re referring to their inanities and total lack of emotion. Maybe I’m wrong but I’ll go with that. I don’t think it’s a new trend and while they’re not something I’m totally into I do think their existence potentially constitutes interesting cultural artefacts, the same way American Psycho documents the bland consumerism of contemporary society etc etc

    • jonoaidney February 8, 2010 at 9:35 am #

      Oh, you should definitely check out the videos. These guys are US poets to whom intimate self-disclosure is a sort of second nature. I admire them, I suppose because that disarming overdisclosure is something I attempt when I write music. I’m very aware that it’s only appropriate in certain social situations, and I’m especially aware that it can be quite unsettling for an audience. But I also think it’s a pretty special thing to witness.

      Totally agree on the wanky hand 😛

  2. Rosabel February 7, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    ps. awesome blog

    • jonoaidney February 8, 2010 at 10:20 am #


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