Tuesday, February 18, 2014
"Hey Baby" (1994)
Back in the early 1990s, younger writers -- poets, in particular -- fell into debates over poems as visual compositions versus those as performative scripts. This debate seems silly now, but it was silly then, too.
A shame that yesterday's silliness has given way to an indifference to difference; that everything in this era of publicity has been ironed out and presented less as critique than as affirmation, decoration.
Poets for whom performance is key include Henry Rollins, a driving force in what was in the early 1990s called "spoken word", but has since become better known by its more competitive name, "slam poetry".
One of the poets to have emerged during this time was Maggie Estep, a graduate of Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and an MTV regular who is perhaps best-known as fodder for Beavis and Butthead.
In the video above, Estep performs a poem (with band) where she addresses harassment from men in public space while Beavis and Butthead assess her performance in the privacy of their cartoon home.
Maggie Estep passed away last week after suffering a heart attack. She was 50.