Verbal Mugging

PAUL BEATTY, 'the premier bard of hip-hop', according to Newsweek magazine, will read his work at the Poetry International on Monday. 'Verbal Mugging' (below) appears in Joker, Joker, Deuce (Penguin USA, 1994, dollars 12.95), the second collection of his work. A former psychology student at Boston University, he joined a creative writing course at Brooklyn College, where he was taught by Allen Ginsberg - who described Beatty's poems as 'a bit like Miles Davis playing: short, melodic bursts'. (Beatty was less impressed with Ginberg's work: 'I wasn't into all that literary stuff'.) Bob Holman, whose Nuyorican Poets Cafe in Manhattan has been the focus of the new rap and hip-hop poetry, says that when Beatty reads 'it sounds like a rap record gone berserk, a rap record that's sampling itself as it goes along'.

Poetry International begins today on the South Bank (071-928 8800), with a reading by Tony Harrison in the Purcell Room at 7.30pm, and continues until 6 November. Paul Beatty appears with Merle Collins, Jayne Cortez and Joolz on Monday at 7.30pm (tickets pounds 6) this is a performance piece

a recitation of woe

that begins with my head bowed

and my eyes closed

either im asleep

or this poem must be deep

i start by speaking real slow and succinct

my diction sittin in a rocking chair

weaving narrated stage histrionics to the page

needle and tongue click

a crossover stitch

that knits the written

with the bullshit

told at quittin time

now i pretend to light a cornpipe

and from memory recite

a story of folklore that if it were true i would rather forget

during act II

my face goes solemn and sallow

it seems we've come to the part

where all hope is lost

heres when

i make the sign of the cross

give thanks to an extensive theatrical background

that allows me to pretentiously

drop to one knee

so that any fool could see

that whatever im talking about

involves some method acting pleas for freedom

performance poetry to go

biodegradable relatedness

you put your elbows on the table

rest your chin on your rodin brass hand

and you dont have to think

cause i illustrate my words

with some cheesy rip-off diana ross and four tops hand gestures

now dressed in mink and rhinestone leisure suit pink

my poem works an imaginary hoe

a slave to a rhythm so real

you can almost hear the refrains of

'please let my people go'

spin out the fields

with a basso so profundo

you can almos' feel

the pat of patronization

on top yo' head

maybe youve noticed

ive lapsed into a southern drawl

and when i say we that means yawl

the reader at one with the bleeder

isnt that how the gentiles learn to feel jesus

clenchin both my fists for emphasis

i clutch them to my chest

to show that you n me together and separate

feel the oppression of every person who's ever

been shot at spat on and shat upon

pigs christened

in a backwoods baptismal

together we are cleansed

wallowing in the muddled dirt wrongs

done to someone else

a pause and i lower my voice a couple of octaves

and project so that you can hear me way in the back

i do this in order to convey a poetic warmth

that crackles on the burning memories of fireside chats

with long since dead grandpop fred

aunt teddy

big daddy kane and miss jane pittman

gingerly my missive sits on the edge of the stage

dangles its feet and proceeds

to shove an earnest down-home tone right down your throat

as i regale you with cliche and tales of ancestors ive never even known

i end this oral tome

drenched in sweat

wiping away the crocodile tears

of happy endings

in a make believe world

where people speed listen and skim

the poet goes round

makin ends meet

by beatin muthafuckas over the head with sound

bangin tuning forks on minds

lookin for vibrations that dont stop with time(Photograph omitted)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Summer nights: ‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’
TVBut what do we Brits really know about them?
Arts and Entertainment
Dr Michael Mosley is a game presenter

TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

    The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

    Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
    House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

    The honours that shame Britain

    Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
    When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

    'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

    Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
    International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

    International Tap Festival comes to the UK

    Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
    War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

    Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
    Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

    'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

    Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
    Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

    BBC heads to the Californian coast

    The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
    Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

    Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

    Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
    Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

    Car hacking scandal

    Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
    10 best placemats

    Take your seat: 10 best placemats

    Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
    Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

    Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
    Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

    Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

    Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
    Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

    Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

    The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
    Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

    Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

    His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

    Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

    Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future