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.
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:
- 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...
- 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...
- 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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