It was an honor to win last night's slam and be in the company of so many fine poetic voices.
You can hear a lot of different voices from the community all in one night in a poetry slam. You can hear your own work in a new way as you speed up or slow down the rhythm of the spoken word.
Thank you to Mission Bar and Tapas on North Street in Pittsfield for keeping the word alive.
Thank you to Matt McFadden, poet extraordinaire, for his hosting of the event.
After doing my "Me & Melville " show awhile, I taught music improvisation to teachers (How to Make Herman Melville Come Alive in the Classroom.) When I spoke to the then-head of curriculum in Pittsfield, MA about teaching Melville he said:
'He's a dead white male, with a dead white whale." And he liked Melville! So I wrote an Ahab Rap and give credit to Bill Irwin for the first few lines.
He's a dead white male, with a dead white whale
Why should I care? Why should I care?
I never saw a whale, I never saw a ship
I never saw a spirit spout, what's so hip
about a guy with a headhunter for a friend
who builds his own coffin for a watery end
what's it to me, if there's a guy named Ahab
He should have been doin' his meds in rehab
Ahab, rehab, Ahab, rehab
It's a guy thing, revenge and such
Get off of it, Ahab, get a new crutch
Get a job at a desk, get a job sellin' blubber
Get off of that ocean, you be a landlubber
You made them die with your crazy obsession
Forget about it, man, learn your lesson
Ishmail, bishmail, tish-mo-ya
Melville and the classics, rah, rah, rah
c 2009 JoAnne Spies
Another song from 'Me & Melville' called 'Check-Out Line' has become a favorite in my work with Alzheimers groups. Originally the song was about what I might say to Herman if I met him in the Big Y supermarket (Le Grande Porque.) Now it's an invitation to make a shopping list for your favorite dinner and then remember what everybody ordered. Using boomwhackers and shakers, we have a lot of fun with this song.