Slam Poem: Evert Eden – “The Hate of Love”

Guest post by Evert Eden aka Adam Ash!

This is a poem that started out as a rant against one woman who’d dumped me and a praise song for another with whom I was having the most excellent sex. I read it at a workshop of a tribe of us downtown Nuyorican poets who met every week in 1993-94 under the guidance of Professor Steve Cannon, the eminence gris of downtown New York poetry and art, and Bob Holman, the founder of the Bowery Poetry Club, who back in those years was the slam master at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe.

Cannon and Holman have a truly encyclopedic knowledge of poetry and poets, and their comments were invaluable to all of us. Plus when you heard what other poets were coming up with, it invariably influenced you. A young poet who was much influenced by Rimbaud read a short piece that was pretty wild with the metaphors; this one little poem immediately freed me from my T.S. Eliot fixation into the madness of doing whatever the fuck I wanted with language and metaphor. It became an obsession with me to go as far out as I could with the most extravagant shit I could imagine.

Now when I read this particular little rant, one of the poets there that night picked out a line in the middle of the poem that he thought was very strong. Hmm, I thought. In my rewrite, I moved the line to the end of the poem, and then went back over the whole damn thing to anchor the poem around political and cultural strife. Suddenly everything came together, and the poem actually meant something.

One likes to think of a poet as a creature who writes her thoughts in the very private and splendid isolation of an Emily Dickinson, but some of us find that a poem can be improved immensely if it has to fight for itself in the open, exposed to the public gauntlet of other poets.

OK, some links. My book of poems, Suck My Poem, is available here, and my novel Vagina Rebel is available here.

These days I’ve reincarnated myself as Adam Ash, singer-songwriter, who performs solo and with his band the Dingbots. Check out my band’s CD here and follow my music career here, where you can also listen to three of my songs, including the rather bizarre My Girlfriend Got Freaky with a Strap-on.

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