Meeting Poet S.A. Griffin & Viewing The Poetry Bomb

S.A. Griffin is one of those cool poets who really lives for poetry and spreading the word about poetry. Recently, he’s undertaken what I think is just an awesome poetic experiment called The Poetry Bomb. Basically, he bought a bomb, cleaned it out, prettied it up, and stuffed it with poetry. I saw it tonight, and it is really a work of art.

(Click here to learn even more about it.) ***Also click here.***

S.A. is not just a poet, though. He’s a genuinely nice guy who–through the power of the Internet–befriended both Tammy and myself. He also published both of us. Tammy’s first chapbook (which also featured poems by Pris Campbell) was published by S.A. and his partner in crime David Smith. When I first started trying to get my poems published, S.A. actually contacted me to request publishing a poem about my father in one of his MEAT broadsides (and it’s still one of my favorite publication credits).

Anyway, Tammy and I have historically had bad luck in meeting up with other poets in person, including S.A., and his scheduled events in the ATL actually fell in one of those bad timing areas for us, since we were both in Ohio for my son’s birthday party this past weekend. Luckily, S.A. stayed in the area for an extra day, and we were able to meet up with him tonight at a Mellow Mushroom in Tucker, Georgia. So I had my first ever Hawaiian pizza (which was good), and I got to meet a very nice and smart poet.

After eating pizza and chasing Baby Will around the place, we went outside and viewed The Poetry Bomb. We took pictures, which I’ll probably share (or at least Tammy will, I’m sure) on Facebook, and S.A. handed us a letterpress of Ellyn Maybe’s poem “Someday Our Peace Will Come.” If you have an opportunity, I would definitely recommend that you go out and see S.A. and his poetry bomb.

Here are some interesting points S.A. brought up during dinner:

  1. We are the Internet. Right off the bat, S.A. launched into how everyone is now in a virtual world. Sure, we’re still alive and breathing and real, but we’re in this Internet reality in which…
  2. We create our own truths. No matter what our political leanings or religious stances (including anti-religious stances), we can find an authority or expert to validate the truths we want to believe. Not only does that make us (generalizing here) feel smarter and more in tune with the world, but it also creates a situation in which…
  3. We feel like we are more important as a result of the Internet. S.A. made the point that it’s so easy for poets (or whoever) to get a few hundred friends and feel like they’re suddenly important. But S.A. warned that poets should not be shooting for fame and popularity alone, because that only corrupts. Poets should be in it for the poetry and that desire to create. I’d argue anyone (no matter the trade, occupation, etc.) should be in it for the passion. If you’re not, you should be working toward something about which you are passionate.

As a result of the points above, S.A. said that his poetry bomb is meant (and I should mention that I’m really paraphrasing everything I attribute to S.A. in this post–hopefully he’ll jump on and correct any mistakes or misinterpretations I’ve made) to create disagreements. He believes consensus is bad; he believes disagreements (and debate) are good. For my part, I totally agree.

It’s human nature to want to find a comfort zone and consensus and agreement, but those things also make things stale after a while. Living is the same as poetry: It’s good to get knocked out of your comfort zone every so often–just to keep you fresh and on your toes.

Anyway, I’m so glad I finally got to meet S.A. and in a nice family-friendly environment with Tammy, Reese and Baby Will. Good times!

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10 thoughts on “Meeting Poet S.A. Griffin & Viewing The Poetry Bomb

  1. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    One more thought: Violence occurs when one party runs out of words, reasonable words, effective words. When one party loses the ability to communicate civilly and with respect, that’s when the beer bottles, the fists, the bombs start flying.

    The more we encourage our youth to cultivate vocabulary, a love of the arts, and self-respect, the closer we will be to a non-violent world. Disagreements can indeed be heated – I’d be lying if I said that, as a war protester, my FBI file doesn’t a bit of language, but it’s always language, never anarchy.

  2. Amy Barlow Liberatore

    I’ve been following The Poetry Bomb and occasionally commenting ever since the pic of The Neon Blue Suit appeared in Facebook. S.A., you offer some of the best grounding advice for poets (espec. about not getting all self-important…) but are also an audaciously talented poet. I’m SO happy to read an interview on Robert’s page about someone I’ve been following!

    Pearl, if you search "poetry bomb" on Facebook, you will find the picture. And if I was in Canada, I would be in your poets against war group, since that’s completely my bag. Will check your site.

    Peace out, all, Amy

  3. Hannah Gosselin

    Sounds like a great, thought, provoking evening. I appreciate the opportunity to learn about this amazing project and thank you for the offer of submitting as well.

    Smiles,

  4. Juanita Snyder

    Interesting concept, and most definately, quite arguably, best creative innovative use of a former military bomb, practised or not!

    Thanks for bringing this to our attention….

  5. s.a.

    Thanks Robert, and thanks everyone for the kind comments and the poem… nice!! It was so wonderful to meet you, Tammy and the kids last night in Atlanta. Presently in North Carolina where I will be until Sunday (Black Mountain Gallery in Asheville @3pm), then off to Nashville to reunite with my wife Lorraine after being separated for almost four weeks. Really can’t wait to see her, I miss her and home very much.

    If you would like further info on the whereabouts of myself and Elsie, you can track us on the Facebook fan page for "The Poetry Bomb", you’ll know you’ve found the right page as it has the pic of me in my bright blue suit escorting Elsie to her reading at Beyond Baroque in Venice, CA.

    If you would like to submit something for inclusion, please send one poem only, hardcopy subs only, one sheet no larger than 8.5×11, whatever messages you would like Elsie to deliver to the world. I accept all subs, there are no rejects. Art them up if you like. However, I will not accept anything that condones or advocates violence…

    S.A. Griffin
    POB 29171
    Los Angeles, CA 90029-0171

    And yes, we must all learn to disagree! The messages that I am trying to sow with the help of Elsie and the poetic muse are community/education/disagreements. The art, artifice and artifact of war were and are invented to create and enforce agreements. Hopefully, by converting what was once a former military practice bomb into a piece of art filled with poetry from around the world shall foster disagreements. Demcocracy and community depend upon the ability to disagree! To agree before the fact is absurd. Agreements only come from civil, and informed, disagreements. Violent language/rhetoric becomes violence. In general, it seems that our cultural and democractic landscapes have become void of depserately needed disagreements. Thru poetry, and poetic action/dialogue, let us sow the seeds of disagreement so that we might possibly begin to agree and move forward together.

    Inside the Poetry Bomb from Lawrence Ferlinghetti, "Dissent is not UnAmerican".

    The Poetry Bomb loves you… life is a blast, live it!

    cheers (on the road), s.a.

  6. Clay Strickland

    Sounds like a great experience and source of inspiration,
    showing there are still pioneers and many avenues left for
    other inviduals to advance the cause of poetry, awesome.
    Will try to make it to S.A.’s ‘exhibit’ when he travels to
    Wilmington N.C. Thanks for the headsup Robert.

    was also prompted by this, and took the opportunity to
    Practice, Practice, on the Ghazal Form,
    it’s kinda choppy and i have huge questions regarding
    the punctuation myself but it was still fun…

    The Poetry Bomber

    Targets, Targets, fingers burning,
    firing buttons, pencils burning.

    Dropping, Dropping, hear the whistle,
    metal poets, prophets burning.

    Sirens, Sirens, hear the wailings,
    buildings bursting, structures burning.

    Cities, Cities, nations ravaged,
    people witness people burning.

    Cinders, Cinders, red coals glowing,
    all audience eyes are burning.

    Rising, Rising, dark clouds lifting,
    S.A.’s spoken, ears still burning.

  7. Marie Elena

    Just in the bit of information you posted here, I like this guy. I especially agree with this statement: "S.A. made the point that it’s so easy for poets (or whoever) to get a few hundred friends and feel like they’re suddenly important. But S.A. warned that poets should not be shooting for fame and popularity alone, because that only corrupts. Poets should be in it for the poetry and that desire to create."

    To that I’ll just AMEN. Thanks for sharing this, Robert.

  8. Barbara Ehrentreu

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I think the idea of a Poetry Bomb is awesome and wonder how we can contribute a poem to it.:) I love how he painted it and made it all pretty. This is taking poetry performance to a new level.:) I also think it is the perfect anti war statement for a poet.:)

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