After dumping a cup of caesar salad dressing all over my lap (post-cleanup) in the 2nd ave. cafe, I’m sitting here, looking out the window, watching pony-tailed and stetson-hatted lawyers (I’m guessing) emerge from the courthouse, and listening to T. Petty’s “Last Dance With Marianne,” and wondering how a poetic debate form (the balagtasan) figures in FilAm poetry. I need chocolate.


  1. hello jean, yikes about the laptop! sorry to hear it!

    re: balagtasan and fil-am poetry, i like to discuss it when discussing contemporary urban poetics, rap, hip-hop poetics, slam. not to say out of balagtasan came these things, but that our current tendency towards spoken word has precedence, that we have traditions we can look at and learn from. that spoken word also has rules about form, so that throws any arguments that poetry and poetic form are for white people out the window.

    1. Thanks bjr. Actually it was my lap (a lot of it), not my laptop, thank goodness.

      Re the balagtasan, yes, I think it would be really worthwhile to look at some of these forms and go deeper into it, both formally and historically, and also in regards to audience interaction. The formal aspects of spoken word…something I haven’t thought about much, but would like to learn more about.

      1. jean and barb –
        i use jim perkinson’s essay “epistemology in the break” in his book, Shamanism, Racism and Hip Hop Culture, to talk about the African American oral forms. jim’s framework is elegant and eloquent. you might want to check it out.

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