Omar Holmon’s, whose poem Jem, about proper manners at a tea party, graces our September issue. We talk about the thrill of the slam and his favorite comics.
1. When I read Jem, I expected the writer to be a woman, which speaks to my own biases more than anything else. How did you come to write about dolls at a tea party?
The poem came about during April’s 30 poems in 30 days for poetry month. I decided that each piece would be a persona poem. I had a bunch of friends on facebook comment on which characters they wanted to see. Eboni Hogan (a fellow poet and nuyorican team member) suggested a Gem poem and i thought about her tag line “shes truly outrageous” compared to barbie and I just thought of what a conversation between the two of them would be like or about and i figured a tea party would be a believable enough scenario for it to play out.
2. You’re also a slam poet, who goes by the name of Ion. Why a pseudonym for performing?
It’s an homage to one of my many favorite Green Lantern (comic book) Â characters.
3. What do you love most about slam poetry? Does slam poetry translate well to the written page?
The thing i love most about slam is the challenge and the push. Honestly being able to be pushed by a friend or a complete stranger to do better then even you expected is amazing. I honestly love being in a close, heated, and compelling slam that feels like leaving a war zone after its over. Win or lose all i want is a great/tough battle whenever i slam, thats whats fun to me.
I believe slam poetry translates well on page because its subjects that are rateable and deal with the modern contemporary and so on. Someone is going to relate to something you wrote regardless if its a “slam” or “page” piece. they both want that same draw from the reader but they go about Â different ways in getting it.
4. What is your writing process?
I tend to research a lot of the lines i write down and give them a science, nerd, or funny base to shape up from. I tend to over think which helps me think ahead as to what idea/line/or joke may or may not work which allows me to see words as lego pieces that form a poem and I can re-arrange the the pieces to see how many different versions of the poem i can get.
5. What is the last great thing you read?
This is going to be funny cause most poets would put down literary works like The Kite Runner or something along those lines. I’m a huge comic book fan so the last great story would have to be my all time favorite”â€DC Comic’s Countdown to Infinite Crisis. That was one of the most gorgeous stories that took a man (Ted Kord) who many considered a second or third string hero and had him go through a gauntlet of events that make you feel for the guy and root for him all the way to the end.
I am currently reading Geoff John’s Green Lantern: Blackest Night which may become my new favorite but Countdown to Infinite Crisis is a comic I still go back to. It makes me feel drained after reading it.