OTEP To Take Part In Special Poetry Reading In Ohio

OTEP frontwoman Otep Shamaya will take part in a special poetry reading and spoken-word session on November 11, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. at:

Visible Voice Books
1023 Kenilworth
Cleveland, OH, 44113

In other news, Shamaya was recently interviewed by Blogs N' Roses. An excerpt from the chat follows below.

Blogs N' Roses: You are also an accomplished and published poet and activist. Let's talk about the poetry first. You have published "Little Sins" and have been featured on HBO's "Def Poetry". Was poetry always something you were interested in? Something you always found easy to do?

Otep: Yeah, I think so. I don't know if it is easy, but it came very natural to me. Especially when I started reading other poets. It made sense to me, it made sense in my head and the way that I think. The "Def Poetry" performance was again, another one of those really amazing moments in my life. I had never done anything like that before. In fact, the poets were a little rude to me and were very territorial I will say. In fact, they didn't know who I was. "Who is this new girl coming along? She doesn't do the circuit with us." I did that piece and they were all sort of applauding me and I thought that was very nice. Hopefully I broke through. Poetry is also a big part of our live performance. We include poetry before every song, in the individual landscape of important music. You know musical landscapes that the guys are developing to bring about this drama. It is very theatrical and very cinematic. I think it is a big part of what we do. Poetry is like baking. If I can equate it to something someone can understand, you could say writing songs is like cooking a full course meal while writing poetry is like being a pastry chef. You make some really beautiful, delightful little desserts that has a remarkable surprise taste that you never saw coming.

Blogs N' Roses: Have you been able to work some of your poetry into your lyrics?

Otep: Sure, a lot of songs are influenced. They start out that way and then once I can catch some melody and rhythm in it, then it expands to something else.

Blogs N' Roses: Do you find it easier to write poetry vs lyrics for songs or do you sit down and just write out naturally?

Otep: I guess it just depends. It is when you can catch that flow that you were just speaking about. When you find that moment of motivation and inspiration. Then you can just jump on that and ride that until it exhausts itself and dissipates back into the ether. You can probably relate to writing something you are not necessarily connected with but you still have to trudge through it. Whereas writing about something you are very passionate about, your fingers can't hit the keys fast enough. I think it is the same with me. If an idea starts to flourish and blossom up all around me...of course I am mixing metaphors like crazy here, but once it starts to flow I think it is very natural. Poetry comes much more natural to me than writing songs.

Blogs N' Roses: You wrote an opinion/editorial on the genocide in Darfur. Would you like to become more involved in raising the public's awareness to these tragedies and any other tragedies that may be close to your heart?

Otep: Indeed I would. I hope I continue to have the opportunity to do so. There is so much out there that we call "news" that is just really entertainment masturbation. It is just this glorified nothing. For instance, when Barack Obama was in Missouri he had a hundred thousand people show up. I am watching the news and there is barely a mention of it. They [the news] stay on some silly smear campaign going on from the McCain camp. Why is that important? They [news] talk more about the celebrity miasmas that are going on around the country. Who is getting in trouble, who is getting married, and who is pregnant and yet there is a million people who were slaughtered in Darfur. And hundreds of thousands of refugees starving to death and no one is talking about it. I know that is not fun to watch on TV, but there are ways of presenting it so that at least it is out there so we are not living isolated in this bubble of nonsense. Otherwise, we are going to see the IQ of this nation fall because we are obsessed over the wrong thing.

Read the entire interview from Blogs N' Roses.


Posted in: News


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