For the first reading I went to in February, my first in a couple weeks, I was truly honored and humbled to hear the words and poems of Lamont Steptoe. Lamont has been an inspiration to me from the time I was a college student. Hearing his work then had a huge impact on me. It wasn’t until I heard his work that I truly understood privilege and oppression, the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ in society. He changed my whole view on what art could be.
I could’ve sat there and listened to him for hours. As I was sitting there, I was thinking about the artist (or poet) and their role in society. Its a complex one. We tend to think that the artist reflects society, that they share what they see and feel, and people in turn use them to deal with the various things that occur. True. However, there’s a reason why Socrates wanted to throw the artists out of his Republic. Sitting there, listening to both Lamont and Sean, I saw that artists can be something more. If we are limiting ourselves to being mirrors, we are limiting our potential.