Aug 31, 2010

Amaud Jamaul Johnson and Reading Aloud


Sorry some photos are repeats, but they fit the subjects to some extent.

Thanks to Paula at for tipping us off, over a week ago, to Amaud Jamaul Johnson, a poet I did not know. Here are two of my favorites so far, which seem to have at least some connection to recent posts here: the care and feeding of birds and other young, along with cruelty, and the rigors of survival in both the animal and human realms.

From the Fishouse: Amaud Jamaul Johnson: Portion Given

Aesthetics by Amaud Jamaul Johnson : The Poetry Foundation [poem] : Find Poems and Poets. Discover Poetry.

The subjects here are worth a poem, and I find the images precise, vivid, and tough; I predict they will be memorable.

Mr. Johnson reads well too--no histrionics, slow, steady pacing, and a respect for his own decisions about line and stanza breaks. These are virtues that some serious writers seem to ignore, and I don't know why.

Maybe the event that the idol worshiping majority want is a carny act, or a strip tease, or a soap opera. And someone has clued in the writers and those fawning dilettantes in the audience--but not the curmudgeons, who are present because they care about writing as an improvement upon ramshackle daily utterances delivered at breakneck speed so they can spear straight through the gizzard of what the other guy was trying to say.

Did I get carried away there? Was that excessive?

I can be fine, by the way, with carny acts and strip teases if they're well done. Soap operas, not so much. "Well-done soap opera" is a gash of oxymoron, a bucket of contradiction. It is what they listen to in Hell, where they fill a tin chalice with fava beans, cliches and phony, overwrought gestures. Then they talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk . . . .

In the small sampling I've seen so far, Amaud Jamaul Johnson, rises nicely high above that. The material invites him to descend, but he reigns it in, keeps on the high road. I'll be reading more.



PJ said...

You're welcome for the AJJ, I thought a lot of that poem and not because I found it.
The first one here, I'm reminded of Elisha and Elijah. Beyond that I'll have to give it some thought. It sounds ominous.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful images in the first one.

As for the litany of childhood cruelties, I remember how the slugs came out on the sidewalk after we had some good Seattle rain. My sister and I would grab the Morton's and throw handfuls on the slugs, then watch, with amazement and delight, as they wizened up and died.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

I remember the cruelty of boys well. My side of the block was afloat with the retarded, dwarfs and the medicated. Projectile barfing and sticking needles through grass hoppers seemed to be high on the list of accomplishments.

Anyhow, I really like this audio site. It's important to me to hear a poets words. Helps me hone in to what they think is important. I suppose I haven't really heard anyone read their work poorly or with histrionics (except for a Paula Cole song; but maybe it was the times)

btw: sometimes I respond quickly to comments on my blog and sometimes I wait. Anyhow I rewrote my response to your comment and included a link to a poem written by my partners high school buddy.

Lovers' Lane