I have been in love with poetry most of my life. Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and Gwendolyn Brooks were amongst the first poets I ever read and their work sucked me into the world of poetry. As I got older, my appreciation for the art expanded to other poets but when I was twelve I began to write my own poems; and ever since I have had a love affair with the art form. I cannot explain what an amazing experience it is to pour your feelings (or your friend’s) onto paper. I am motivated by so many different things when I write but with poetry I feel as if I am leaving a part of my soul in every piece.
In honor of Black History Month I am re-reading some of my favorite African-American poets so my head is full of Lucille Clifton’s “wishes for sons” and “homage to my hips”, along with Gwendolyn Brook’s “We Real Cool”, Claude McKay’s “To A Poet” and Nikki Giovanni’s “I’m Not Lonely.” While immersing myself in all of that good poetry I was reminded that I hadn’t really written any new poems this month. I’ve been so focused on creating short fiction and trying to put serious work into the novel that I hope to complete this year that I have totally overlooked poetry. I need to write some new pieces but I will need inspiration for that and although my motivation can come from anything or anywhere including new shoes, music, a story shared by friend’s, good food, words from a novel, or a trip; there is always one go-to source where I am sure to become inspired. Love Jones is guaranteed to put me in the mood. To write.
Love Jones is one of my favorite movies hands down; it is full of poetry and spoken word performances. For those of you unfamiliar with the movie it’s the tale of Nina a photographer, who fresh off a broken engagement, meets modern day Renaissance man Darius. The movie follows them from an Open Mic night at a local nightspot to a first date and into deeply complex relationship. Although it is ultimately a love story for me the poetry plays a major role. Actor Leonard Roberts plays a supporting role and voice sounds like poetry. The movie also features one of this poet’s favorite poets/spoken word artists Chicago’s Malik Yusef. Watching the movie always inspires me to give birth to new work. It can be ideas that I eventually use as prose but most often it’s new poetry.
In many ways, every time I see the movie my love for poetry begins all over again. I think that the beauty of this film is everything; the complicated relationships, the friendships, and most importantly the poetry. Yes, I love the love story aspect of it and as a poet I want to fall in love with another poet but I absolutely love how deep in love with poetry I feel once the closing credits start running. So I just wanted to share this clip of the Love Jones “reunion” that I found on Love Jones Tumblr and I hope it inspires all of you.