By Kayode Taiwo Olla
The creative talk series Dr. H’Artbeats appears each Saturday with a fictional letter from an imagined lover of the arts entertainment and reader of our blog, and raising very relatable questions and, sometimes also, laughable questions that people may often have about, or even in, the entertainment arts. Opinions of brief practical answers or responses, given amid gentle humour, are gathered for each week’s imagined reader’s question by the moderator of the series—and gathered from selected people who are believed to be well-disposed to give them, by the virtue of their experience, field practice, etc. The arts-entertainment-focused Dr. H’Artbeats Series, inspired by the literature-inclined Dear Brittle Paper Series on BrittlePaper.com, is written and moderated by Kayode Taiwo Olla exclusively on BraveartsAfrica.com.
This week on Dr. H’Artbeats, I’m bringing to you a very interesting topic of discussion I’m, in fact, excited about already. The inspiration came from the blues just now while I thought about different subject matters. While in the spirit of Valentine’s Day coming and the air is rich with romance everywhere already, I’ll loving to spin a playful, romantic twist of this art topical issues column with the funny and interesting question of whether it is advisable at all to date a poet? A poet, mind you!
The responses to this week’s letter are my opinion and excerpts of written opinions about this question. Enjoy this week’s edition, then—and in the spirit of Valentine! 🙂
Love, laugh, and live.
—Kayode, Saturday, February 6, 2016.
• • •
I’m dating a poet, sir! Don’t say congratulations. Now don’t think I don’t love poets. I fancy them—in fact! The way they toss words and spin them in your ears with romantic whispers! Ah, I always dreamed of that in high schools—I’ve always wanted to date a writer, especially a poet, a romantic poet! They’ve gat some elegance, and style you see with artistes. Alexander was just that and I loved him from the first day I knew him. But poets are really unconventional people, I must say—quite eccentric! My Alex freaking is!
I enjoy his romantic poems a lot I admit. In fact, sometimes hearing him read the words to my ears at night and in his deep husky voice, quite turns me on in a couple of minutes! He’s that so, so gorgeously with words and in voice. But I hate the fact that he is so unconventionally passive with every other things not connected with inspiration and creativity and he even tries to win me over into reading lots of meaningless collection of essays and poems. He interjects a line from an essay into discussion we have about us, about life and our future. He seem to have placed everything in this world into particular concepts or “critical theories”—whatever that even means! We can’t just have a single straightforward talk without ‘us’ trying to see why it is an “open-ended conflict”, as if I have an idea of what that means. And when I make a good remark he really loves at any time, I’m too disappointed that it is the “historical and biblical allusions” or the “extended metaphors” that were what got to him, when I don’t even know I have extended metaphors in my life or historical and biblical allusions.
Alex can spend about 5 hours—5 being the very least, writing a single page of a poem! A poem that is not breakfast! I wouldn’t complain so much, if he wasn’t taking too precious time we need to be together and talk intimately, for mere pieces of writing. There was a time I won’t forget sir. He spent literally 11 hours, 38 minutes, 17 seconds on a piece of writing he called as a “satiric spoken word poem.” I kept pleading I needed him more that day, but Alex would only say—without even lifting his head from the his notepad and dictionaries: “If I don’t write this, who will?” I ended up only entering his study every once in a while, bringing him brunch, launch and apples, carrots and cheese. My Alex didn’t eat anything except snacks and fruits all through. I felt and actually was lonelier than the loneliest single one earth at that time! When he was done, the piece he came out with was incredibly awesome, and with the techniques or so he put into it that he took time to explain to me about. So, we ended up talking about a lifeless poem instead of about us, about the beautiful and fond times we have shared together, about the future.
But then, what I found most unappealing is I always being the “inspiration for a new poem”—I’m always the subject of his love poem and other creative poems, and when I’m the poem is not in any way connected to me, his readers that knows me as his girl will already believe the poem is about me. So I find a hard time struggling with what thoughts will be going on in his readers head about us with the release of every new poem! Can’t poets always write about something totally unconnected to them, and can’t readers just leave me out of his writings for crying out loud! I love it when he addresses a poem to me or dedicate a work to me. But then! Can’t a poet’s life and wife be separate from his works! Or can’t readers understand that they are two freaking separate things!
Dating a poet only makes me have these headaches—and heartaches in the midst of the romantic butterflies, Dr. H’Artbeats!
A Poet’s Sweetheart.
—From Dr. H’Artbeats
My Dear Poet’s Sweetheart,
So, you’re dating a poet? I was actually going to jump with a big congrats for you till I saw your next line! Hmmm! Poet’s Sweetheart, I understand why you’re disappointed—it’s because you perhaps know little of poets before now, and in fact, even now. Do you mind me taking you across two opposing poles you didn’t know you’d known in your heart of arts when you saw your man the poet the first time and developed feelings for him?
First is—I’ll say it, you’d thought poets were “sane” men like many of the ordinary non-poets of these world, lol! Creativity thrills only when different, don’t you think? When something is regular, it’s lacklustre. Can you guess why your man’s character appeal and charisma chad ou then? 😉 Genius, have you heard, has a stroke of madness—oh, don’t think too far; it’s enough difference to create some striking artistry of practicing artist. An artist, then, does not only create art, but also lives it. Little wonder why your poet as man is poet in romance, too! Do yo want a different man, dearie?
Poets—I mean, real poets—are a truly gifted people, talking of the intellect, emotional richness, expression and affection and creativity! Poets are great lovers, if you understand them! Even the most conservative people, are intense lovers and with enough spice of romantic surprise and downright naughtiness every now and then that makes for a thrilling love life! And it may not be an understatement to say, too, that some of you ladies dating poets are dating some genetically genius people types, when it comes to human creativity and innovation capability. And even though they have their rather peculair eccentricities, of course. Some of the deepest, truest feelings, then, of are felt and best expressed by romantic poets.
So, I’ll say it, you alreay have a great Romantic hero potential—potential, yes! And again he loves you and it’s not that he’s intentionally keeping at arm’s length in the relationship or something. He perhaps only don’t see where he’s got to put reasonable limits, and we’ll show him. So will take my congrats for a Prince Charming potential you’ve got for a man, your own man, uh?!
Alright, to Poet Alex, we’ll love to give this piece of kind suggestions, kindly let us. I’m also a poet, and a story writer. I didn’t say this upfront so you sweetheart asking the question will not think up front that I’m only taking sides. I’m write more of psychologically based stories of love and/or sexual relationships, and romantic poems. There are two types of romantic poets (and writers) in my understanding. There are lover men that are poets and there are poets that are lover men. In another sense, the public writes love poems when it falls in love. But the poet falls in love when he writes love poems. The one engages in love poems only as the usual lovers-turned-poets outbursts of young folks in love and the other as an art that extends into his love life. I am hoping the Poet’s Sweetheart is beginning to see why her lover’s poetry practice is that rich and career-like with percolating expression in the love life,and I feel she should be proud of his man for being the true artiste she had admired from an audience footage.
The same was true of my practice and love life, too. I was a writer of love poems and psychological stories before I started a relationship. My love poems were just works of art targeted at different sub themes of the love subject that I felt my reading audiences find relatable. One of the very thing that attracted my lady to me in the first place, then, was my acclaim as a poet of the love subject genre everywhere on campus then. Of course, in the relationship I write more love poems—some inspired by her but tailored for a general appeal from the scratch, some just for art’s sake, and some dedicated to her which I seldom publish except in markedly celebrating her. Yet I’ve had to struggle in my head with the fact that people almost always expect my poems and especially my psychological narratives of psychosexual issues to be my own personal stories with her when we would never put our private lives in the open for the world’s stare and tear!? So, I constantly stand the risk of I, but more importantly my relationship with her, being viewed in the light of my stories and creative poems—and, oh man, I write really naughty scenarios and love’s psychosexual hurt issues many times; I’m a writer by carrier and not just a hobby, after all! But you can’t always help or put 100% straight your people’s assumptions and inferences, you know, Poet’s Sweetheart. Poets and artists themselves are usually controversial people, don’t you think so? At least, the society will usually spin controversies, real or otherwise concocted, around not their careers this time, but their personal lives. You have a lot of examples with even great artistes like hip-hop king Michael Jackson who shifted conversion attempts from Jehovah Witness sect to Judaism and to Islam and back to Christianity at some time and had controversies around skin treatment, homosexual rape charge and divorces; and then, Black movement African-American poet lmamu Baraka who formerly bore the name LeRoi Jones with a number of conversions from different Islamic sect, and political ideologies and activism and to the point his privileged award of being American Poet Laurette was withdrawn after much bitter criticism of the American capitalism and government and also not unrelated to the loss of his child; and even the great Kenyan novelist, dramatist and professor of English Ngugi Wa Thiong’O who formerly bore James Ngugi and who even had his employer university not comprehending his criticising and total debunking of English as a primary medium of creative and critical literary practice so much he lost his professorial employment even with him still practicing as a lead African writer! But these were just some sides of their actions people may or may not have sit still and long enough to interpret contextually and, of course, cos they are high-up there, you know? Once again, the society is content in spinning shallow gossip controversies about them.
And why ever not? What fan or audience fully has the privilege—I mean, the privilege—to fully know as a person that demigod of creative genius everyone admires, except people like you my dear Poet’s Sweetheart, who are his personal persons, his heartbeats?!
So, will you join the crazy media criticising him some more, dear—or will you accept my congratulations, be proud of the genius you’ve got as your man, believe in him, understand him some more, protect him, and be the rational the creative, emotive and often subjective artist species has?!
Now, Congrats—big time! 😉
It may sound romantic, but in search of that elusive metaphor, poets can be somewhat “eccentric.”
- If you date a poet everyone will think you are the jerk they are writing about.
- You will be the jerk they are writing about.
- They have an unnatural affection for book stores and office supply stores.
- They have deep conversations with Animals, Clouds, and Grecian Urns.
- Excessive use of “poetry hands.”
- Excessive abuse of “poetic licence.”
- Excessive use of “melancholy.”
- Excessive use of “dramatic emphasis.”
- They collect obscure words that have not been in circulation for at least 100 years or more.
- They insert these antediluvian words into conversations just to rebel.
- They think children’s books are sublime.
- They refuse to care where the remote is.
- All of their furniture are positioned around windows, for them to stare out for hours at a time.
- Your parents will think they are possessed.
- They are possessed.
- You will lose all arguments, or feel so guilty from causing them more emotional pain, you will wish you had lost.
- They will secretly judge your metaphors.
- They carry a notebook everywhere and let everyone see it but you.
- They hoard pens and refuse to let you borrow them.
- They are obsessed with incredibly depressing films.
- They listen to every single kind of music you can imagine, even Brazilian monkey howling listening for universal truth.
- They keep conversations going way too long.
- You will never know if they agree with you or are just following you down the rabbit hole to see how crazy you are.
- They will visit other rabbit holes.
- They can’t keep secrets. It will come out thinly veiled and mythologized in their poetry.
- It takes a least a week to a year for them to form their opinion, and that opinion is subject to change, because they are always questioning themselves.
- They speak in rhyme all the time.
- They talk to everyone, which a lot of people find scary, especially at the grocery store.
- They don’t understand why if murder, rape, slavery, and genocide are illegal, then why is war legal?
- They actually think people need to be protected from Monsanto, instead of protecting Monsanto.
- They do not understand why all of a sudden group “X” is hated by everyone.
- They don’t understand the global threat of Dandelions and why they must be eradicated the with toxic chemicals.
- They refuse to care about celebrities.
- They are rebels and purposely wear white shoes after Labor Day.
- They think espresso machines and tiny cups are magic.
- They refuse to #textspeak. They invented #textspeak.
- They will make you empty out your head and heart like junk drawers and question everything in them.
- They can not live without passion.
- There will be drama.
- They crave plot twists.
- Their greatest fear is no will understand their allusions.
- They mine for emotional shrapnel like diamonds.
- Their euphemisms will never measure up.
- They can only live or visit cities with poetry open mics.
- Whatever is wrong, they have a tea for it, and probably a cookie, definitely a wine.
- They attempt to interject malapropisms into every conversation.
- They have their own antagonist and nemesis.
- They sneak dord into conversations in an attempt to make it a real word.
- They abuse asyndetons.
- But the most important reason never to date a poet is that poetry is an addiction, and before you know it, you will be the addict in search of your next metaphoric hit of universal truth.
So, You were warned!
I recently read this fun article, 50 Reasons Not to Date a Poet. A few of the points were kinda undeniably true (#3 If you date a poet, everyone will think you are the jerk they are writing about) TRUTH. and (#16 They will secretly judge your metaphors.) YEP. Can’t even argue against those. But the rest of them…ehhh. Have a read and see if you can relate to more of them than I do.
Of course, me being me, I had to come back with a counter-list of why dating a poet is the bestest thing ever and generally the smartest thing you will do in your adult life. Yes, I’m biased. But still.
1. If you date a poet, you will know the true meaning of ‘swoon’ and you will do it often. They know the power of a stunning phrase and it’s way hotter than the Hallmark lines a non-poet will default to.
2. They see the raw beauty in things that others take for granted.
3. You will never ever need to worry that they aren’t telling you something. Poets are ALWAYS trying to tell you something.
4. They’re quite handy if you need a graceful way to tell someone off. They can tell em where to go and how far to stick it without using a single foul word.
5. Roses are pretty sub-standard and typical. Instead, you will get hand written love letters and sticky notes with one line panty-wetters. (Yes, I said panty-wetters. You know what it is.)
6. You will never not know the deeper meaning of something. Anything. There is nothing at all that a poet cannot analyze the hell out of. There’s an underlying meaning behind EVERY single thing and if you ask a poet, they’ll be elated to share it with you.
7. Poets tend to be minimalists. They don’t always need a lot to set the butterflies a flutter. If you can come up with a couple of your own expressively charming lines, that will pretty much substitute a $125 dinner date.
8. Poets make curiously good alcoholic beverages. Because poets drink a lot of alcoholic beverages.
9. You’ll never be without somewhere to go at any given moment. There’s bound to be an open mic night, a poetry slam, a house party centered around poetry, a poetry in the park event, etc. There will always be something poetic going on. And they will know about it.
10. You will know what a true apology sounds like. Poets can apologize like NONE other when they know they have done something wrong.
11.Making love to a poet feels like syllables being whispered along the curve of your spine as you unravel into a million pieces.
12. Poets like smell good stuff. But not obnoxious fruity scents. Poets don’t like to smell like fruit baskets. Poets like sandalwood, and amber, and lavender, and patchouli oils. You know…the sexy stuff.
13. Poets cherish quiet time. Meanwhile, most non-poets you date will probably have the television blasting, music playing, friends climbing over one another and a cell phone conversation on speaker phone…all at the same time…every day.
14. You will always have a crowd-pleaser on your arm. Not all poets are attention whores at parties BUT all poets know how to say at least one extra deep/witty thing that will have everyone else envious that you are the one dating the poet and not them.
15. Poets can wear the color black during all seasons, during thunderstorms or sunny spring days and make it look extra sophisticated and intentional.
16. Poets break rules…but also enjoy the process of making them. Keeps things interesting.
17. Poets shun conformity. So you know that if your poet bought it for you, said it to you, wrote it for you, etc…it’s gonna be something edgy and unique and outside of the normal (boring) box.
18. Poets are great with their hands and even better with their mouths. Enough said.
19. Poets are the gatekeepers AND the rallyers (is that a real word?) of the community. If you don’t know what a gatekeeper is…you aren’t dating a poet. If you don’t know what a rallyer is, it’s because there’s a possibility that it’s not a real word. But you get it.
20. Poets like to make up their own words.
21. Poets don’t like to be told that they can’t do something. Maybe it’s the whole submit and rejection process of writing. Who knows? But tell a poet NO and they’ll keep trying until they get a yes. Persistence is way more handy than what can be explained here.
22. Poets read books. Book readers tend to have better vocabularies. A broad vocabulary is usually a trait of a good conversationalist which means no lame dinner convos.
23. Poets can write ugly things beautiful and can dirty up a pristine scene like nobodies business. In other words, when you need a different perspective on something…your poet can provide that for you.
24. A well-written poem can be the most powerful and therapeutic dose of truth and self-realization. Poets write poems. Therefore, dating a poet is like getting free therapy.
25. Poets don’t need a list of 50 things to prove why dating them is the best thing you will ever do.
Poets are romantic. They will write you letters, put mushy notes in your handbag or pocket. (We all like that old school love.)
Poets can stroke your ego. You’ll definitely become the muse and inspiration for their work. Maybe he’ll thank you in a book dedication or something.
Forget boredom! Poets will always have an open mic or a cool event to attend and keep you busy.
Poets are smart. Some are hilariously witty. Trust me, you will never stop laughing, or smiling.
Poets are true, they cannot keep a secret from you, they easily express their feelings through words all the time which makes them honest.
Poets are passionate, they talk with all their senses. They sprinkle this passion to their work and relationships.
Poets are creative and will have 1000 ways to communicate that they love you. Think of it as automatic fun and adventure.
You will know what a true apology sounds like. Poets can apologize like NONE other when they know they have done something wrong.
A well-written poem can be the most powerful and therapeutic dose of truth and self-realization. Poets write poems. Therefore, dating a poet is like getting free therapy.
Poets see beauty in faults, they will regard you perfect in their eyes, they will describe you so much you will always feel beautiful.
I started writing in high school at 15 as a means of release and therapy for my teenage drama and poetry became my source of hope. I am a dreamer, I was always told my dreams were unrealistic and that made me strive to be a better writer. My poetry mostly revolves around the themes of love, fear, God, change and hope. I am inspired by my experiences, experiences of people close to me, nature and movies!
Disclaimer: Dr. H'Artbeats Series' stories and characters are fictional accounts meant to be relatable; resemblances to particular person's life stories and events are, therefore, by coincidence. (See past editions of the weekly Dr. H'Artbeats Series HERE.)