Def Poetry Guest Review

A quick note to let you know that Levi will be posting his weekly review of the latest Def Poetry Jam episode as usual, however it may be delayed a bit. We invite you to watch along tonight on HBO at 11:30pm ET (check your local listings for other air times) and share your thoughts on the show, its performers and what you think of the review. We’ll compare notes, it’ll be fun.

4 Responses

  1. Last Night’s Def Poetry – My
    Last Night’s Def Poetry – My Review

    I asked the couple who recently moved in across the street to record Russell Simmons Def Poetry because I don’t have HBO. That’s one way to get to know the new neighbors.

    Last night’s show was strong. There really wasn’t anyone who I didn’t like, and I don’t fancy myself a poetry critic, so I’ll simply list the performers who really stood out to me and why.

    I have to say, at the risk of sounding off-the-wall: Kanye West had a kickin’ haircut. I mean, that was art in itself. Kind of a paisley effect.

    Well, he did.

    West’s first poem had a line that I really liked, “I can make Black history any day, I don’t need a month.” His second poem, ‘Bitter-Sweet’, about strife between lovers, came across very real. It was neither falsely idyllic nor overly morbid — it was somewhere in between, like life.

    Rafael Casal’s ‘Barbie & Ken 101’ had a good message. He is tired of the hype that makes women feel they aren’t thin enough, or their breasts not big enough, that they have to strive to be like the unnatural models of magazines and TV. He wants his girlfriend to know she is fine right now as she is.

    Terry Creech was my favorite of the show. He wants to fly. He calls himself a ‘Lost Bird’ – a term for adopted Native American children, torn from their heritage. Creech begins with subtle humor but the drama builds as he soars into this poem, reaching a zenith of emotion, and then levels out:

    “Now, it’s not just Native American children, you all;
    we’re all a generation of lost birds,
    Fulfilling the fears of our forefathers in the places where they came to know them,
    Leaving us to suffer through skies of malice filled with fiberglass clouds
    Where love has just as much use as peanut butter.
    But we will know that despite the colors that grace all of our wings
    They all look red when pressed against the horizon
    And that somehow through it all our feathers will fill with purpose”

    When Sonia Sanchez ended her poem ‘Our Vision Is Our Voice’ by repeating, “We need courage. We need courage,” she sounded like she means business.

    Poet Shihan’s interesting T-shirt read “Music is the new cotton.” That’s something to think about. He also provided some very nice wordplay about having a baby with the woman you love:

    “Now one plus one equals one,
    Our bond cannot be broken
    We consummated our commitment to each other
    And created our first child;
    And one plus one equals three,
    And I know the math sounds strange
    And sometimes I find myself struggling with divinity
    But why try?
    Mother, father, child is the holy trinity,
    And she is living proof that there is truth in fertility”

    As you can see, when I review poetry, I’ve got to quote something from time to time. When I hear something I like, I want to share it. Thanks for reading my review!

  2. Thanks, Bill! I still
    Thanks, Bill! I still haven’t caught this episode myself, but I enjoyed reading your take on it. Harder work than it looks, huh? Please feel free to keep contributing reviews of these shows … I’m happy to share the space.

  3. I don’t think I could have
    I don’t think I could have written this review if I didn’t have a tape of the show to go over more than once. Do you usually record the show or review it “live”?

  4. Well, Bill, my VCR broke
    Well, Bill, my VCR broke about five years ago, and I don’t have TIVO. I watch the show once, scribbling notes, and I take it from there. I’m sure your way is better …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What We're Up To ...

Litkicks will turn 30 years old in the summer of 2024! We can’t believe it ourselves. We don’t run as many blog posts about books and writers as we used to, but founder Marc Eliot Stein aka Levi Asher is busy running two podcasts. Please check out our latest work!