©2021 Michael Raven
If you are a regular visitor, you may have noticed that I have upped my frequency of promoting other bloggers when they really snare me with something they post (especially poets) over the past few weeks. In fact, lately, it has become a daily thing — although that aspect is unintentional.
I mentioned something along these line a while ago when I had an aborted “Follow Friday” effort that fizzled like a wet firecracker (more because of my lack of commitment to the idea than anything) — but I recently decided to recommit myself to the idea that my main motivation for writing is to help other people either take up the pen themselves, or to give other writers some spotlight, however meagre the lumens my spotlight projects.
It was a commitment I made (and I’m sure some folks are tired of this story, so I’ll keep it brief) when I first envisioned a spoken word venue for writers back in 90s Seattle when I lived there for a short bit. At the time, poetry slams were all the rage and the only way a poet could really get stage time was to “compete” for a spot. Sadly, the competition element was more about stage presence than it was about the quality of poetry, so those suffering from stage-fright, lacking in competitive confidence, or other maladies, were almost never heard from. So, with the help of a few other like-minded individuals, I created a venue at a local coffee house on First Street (called The Lux), in the Belltown neighborhood and we called it Sweet Immolation: Burning From the Inside. The rules were simple: sign up for a slot, honor the 5-minute limit on performance, do some kind of performance (from music to spoken word to theatre). Hecklers and aloofness were not allowed — those people were encouraged to take those attitudes back to one of the slams, where such things were deemed acceptable.
Whether it was the actual concept or inner-city tourist wanting to check out the long-haired poet in a crushed velvet skirt (floor length, when I wasn’t wearing my “kilt”), we went from having a modest audience of about 20 people the first night to far exceeding the fire code the second night with our hippie love-in poetry fest. And it continued until I left the city.
But the core idea behind Sweet Immolation was to give other poets, often amazingly stellar poets, a bit of the old spotlight that may have otherwise overlooked them. I want to get back to that place where I was so long ago and take some of the focus off of me; less of the All-day/All-night/All-Michael-Raven feel of this site.
I won’t be arbitrarily reblogging things I find, so it may not be a daily thing — I’ve just encountered so many (in my opinion) noteworthy pieces these past few weeks that I’ve actually had to stop myself from posting several reblogs in a single day more than once. There’s a lot of damn fine writing out there lately. Maybe it is the season…?