Maybe it is not my place to say, but if I havn't paid my dues, who has? Twelve years ago when I started doing poetry most poets did not have cd's, there was no Facebook, Myspace, or Twitter. If you wanted to know what events were going on in any given city you went to the largest open mic in that city and collected flyer's. You also connected with the poets from that city to find out what events made sense. This was wonderful for many different reasons, it meant if you were a poet/promoter you had to actually come to other events to see how it was done in order to promote your event, it also meant you had to be hungry and have the ability to grind in order to make your event successful. Today anyone with a facebook account can start a poetry event and call themselves a promoter.
Twelve years ago when I started doing poetry believe it or not every computer didn't come with a CD burner, in fact a pack of 50 CDr's might cost as much a 50 to 100 dollars depending on the quality. Needless to say only a handful of poets had Cd's. If a poet stood in front of a crowd with a CD he or she had spent a great deal of time putting it together and working out the logistics of how to sell it. The crowd understood they were listening to and watching something special and they appreciated it. Now there are more poets with cd's then without. Now any given poetry event looks more like a flee market then a open mic.
I am great full for whatever effect I have had on the growth and change of poets I have come in contact with, but I'm beginning to believe that as we were building this house over the course of the past 12 years we were more concerned with the aesthetics then we were with the foundation. We were more concerned with the quick dollar then the long term success. I put this weight not only on myself but on all the poets in what I like to call "My Class"
I say all this to say because this level of the grind has for the most part been destroyed because of promoters who have no clue what they are doing and poets who have no intention of paying dues before they attempt to make money. We must begin to seriously think about the next move. I'm sure we are all tired of hitting open mics, and featuring for a few dollars at a time whether it's a couple of thousand from a college or 50 bucks for a feature at a venue.
I almost feel as if we are going backwards. What are your thoughts on it?