Fast words to shape deep, poetic thoughts

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

July 31, 2014 at 2:31 a.m.

Like galloping mustangs charging ahead, poets take the stage Saturday with words to be said.

The all-ages poetry slam at Downtown Bar and Grill also features two local bands and a group from Houston.

Joe Brundidge, who also goes by Element 615, is one of the featured poets set to perform.

"You bring people together - make it like stone soup," said Brundidge, 40, who directs the Austin International Poetry Festival. "People without people aren't people."

Saturday will be the Austin-based poet's first performance in Victoria.

He said he's looking forward to the fusion of poetry and live music.

"Just the fact that I'll be there listening to different types of music and building the energy - that always has an effect on the performances," he said.

By slam poetry rules, poems are limited to three minutes and 10 seconds.

Michael McClanahan, who helped organize Saturday's event, called it an experiment in creating more diverse shows downtown.

Brundidge said it's not about yelling or sensationalism; it's about hearing the words and feeling what was said.

"With my poetry, I try to convey a message that it's not just you," he said. "Not all my poems come from a first-person perspective, but life just happens to be the primary subject - the different aspects of it and how it's not as finite as people think it is."

Much of his work focuses on relationships and the connections, or lack thereof, people create.

"Art is a god-given gift to communicate what we can't easily or readily say - whether it's a poem, a song or a painting," he said. "It captures something that you were trying to put your finger on."

For Brundidge, the writing and performing process is cathartic.

"You clear your head of everything," he said. "You can let a moment or a feeling go - get it on paper. That doesn't remove it, but acknowledging it helps clear it."



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