Tapestry of Voices : 2005 National Poetry Month Festival
2005 Boston National Poetry Month Festival—View From the Inside
by Doug Holder dougholder.someothermagazine.com
During the “cruelest month,” when I was sitting at the book table at the Boston National Poetry Festival, a homeless guy asked me, “What’s a poet, anyway?”
I must admit I was at a loss to answer him.
He seemed a bit peeved at my failure to articulate what I was, and the conversation went downhill from there. But this down-at-the-heels gentleman had a good question.
Asking what a poet is, that’s like asking what life is. One possible answer is a reporter of life, in all its beauty and ugliness. Her or his reports come from the front in heightened, lyrical language that speaks to what those of us away from the strife want to say, but can't express. A good poet, that is.
Poets as people are for the most part like anyone else, except they tend to write better. Just look at this year’s festival. There were 56 poets in one place, at one general time, strutting their stuff, books, and poems or looking for a gig. At the reception before the festival, they exchanged witty banter, dropped names, and networked like they were at any corporate shindig. Some were dressed in Brooks Brothers, others in jeans, others in peasant skirts. They wore Rolexes on their wrists, or rings in their noses or tongues. Just like anyone else.
Equally varied were their styles, as many as one would find displayed in a glossy fashion magazine. Some performed like preachers, disbursing fire and brimstone, while others wallowed in morbid self-reflections. Some even danced and unapologetically celebrated life.
Doug Holder * This article originally appeared in someothermagazine.com