I had the luxury of listening to Logen Cure’s poetry before seeing it on the written page. For a person who once suffered a fear of public speaking, becoming a performance poet was a process of forcing herself to get on stage over and over and over again.
“Camera Shy” by Logen Cure
In her discipline, Cure is innately aware of the oral and aural impact of her poems, though she also says the process of honing a poem’s sound comes for her during the revision stages.
“Preface” by Logen Cure
Poets, she told me, owe it to their work to engage with their audiences. We asked her to say a bit more, which she does beautifully:
The power of performing poetry for an audience is undeniable. Recently, I was asked to read at a huge art festival in Fort Worth. I was standing in the street between booths, no mic, reading poems as people teemed by. I never imagined so many people would stop. As the crowd grew, I felt supremely aware of how loud my voice is, how risky it feels to make my work physical, how intense it is to watch people’s faces as my stories unfold. I equally love being in the audience at a great poetry show. Poetry has energy unlike anything else.
Reading poetry on the page is also physical, just in a different way. I love holding a book of poems in my hands. I never read a poem just once. I love reading out loud and being able to carry a poem with me. Poetry is about connections and we use all our senses in making connections. All the elements of page and stage together make the magic of poetry.
To me, the page and the stage are inextricable; there should be no distinction in “schools” of poetry. If you see yourself as a “page” poet and you can’t embody your work at your readings, you haven’t done your job. If you see yourself as a “performance” poet and you can’t make it work on the page, you haven’t done your job. The endeavor of poetry is excellence in both craft and voice. Don’t sell yourself short by not using all the tools available to you.
“Rainmakers, 1891” by Logen Cure
Sound plays a key role in this week’s written offering, “Chaparral,” a brilliant examination of the violent brilliance of the desert. —Camille Griep
by Logen Cure
They say X-shaped tracks
belong to the roadrunner.
You can’t tell if he’s coming or going;
he misleads evil spirits.
They say the bird will guide
a lost man to road.
Most things avoid the diamondback.
Venom is absolute.
Roadrunner full tilt,
slim brown and gold body
parallel to the ground;
he hears the rattle,
Coiled, fangs ready;
wings kick up a dust cloud;
one misfire then
again and again—
beak snaps shut
square between those black eyes.
Bird bashes reptile skull over rocks,
narrow neck extending
full height with each blow,
easier to swallow that way.