Intro: Hello. This is what I do. Persona Poems.

Hello. I’d like to take this first paragraph of this first blog post to explain who I am and what I do. My name is Doobie. That may not be my birth name but it is the one that most everyone knows me by and uses so feel free to use it as well. I am a lot of things. I do a lot of things. First off, I am a spoken word poet. Not to mean that I don’t write but I find much more satisfaction in performing my poetry in front of an audience where I can control the performance. I compete in slam poetry competitions though I do not take them seriously as I view it as more of a gallery of work in a setting that involves the audience. I am also a gamer. Video gaming is a huge part of my identity as a person. I grew up with Nintendo and Playstation, often playing RPGs as I enjoyed the strategy of building parties and long narratives. I have often combined my love for games with my writing, creating poems such as “Love Letter to Princess Peach from King Bowser”, “Open Letter to Mario from Luigi” and “What Kind of Pokemon Are You?”. With that being said, I hope you enjoy these writings of both poetry and games.

As a poet, one of my favorite styles is persona poems in which the writer takes on a viewpoint of a character that isn’t themselves. My favorite persona poem and the one that really made me want to create persona poems is Shane Hawley’s “Wily E Coyote” poem. Taking a character like Wily E Coyote and writing in his mindset opens up both the comedy and the self reflection that we often overlook. The ability to twist comedy and drama together is a tough act to nail but doing so is extremely rewarding for those as a writer, performer and for the viewer. Giving a voice to a character that is often voiceless outside of mannerisms and “signs pulled from invisible back pockets” helps to flesh out the writer’s voice. This takes form when Wily E. Coyote starts questioning the work of his maker, social commentary on physical fitness versus mental fitness, and the plight of the addict. Reminiscent of heroin, often called chasing the dragon, Wily E. Coyote chases the roadrunner but will never catch him. For anyone who has watched Looney Tunes cartoons know that in the end the roadrunner is never caught. This knowledge makes the ending of Shane’s poem so effective at drawing emotion out of the audience. The breaking point has come for Wily E. Coyote and we know that he will break. The thought of finally catching his prey is so etched into his mind that no matter how badly he fails he will continue to keep chasing.

This performance is also what drove me to want to write persona poems. The inflections and energy given to the language when you enter into a character makes it exhilarating to perform. Shane gives a performance that makes the audience really feel like Wily E. Coyote is bleeding his heart on stage; a broken spirit that questions his maker, questions his social status and in the end makes himself believe that despite all of his failures that his plan will finally work for once. This is the poem that I point to when I tell people about persona poems.

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