Monday, June 06, 2011

P4CM and Didactic Poetry

One of the more interesting Evangelical movements of recent times is the Passion for Christ Movement, more often known as P4CM, in Los Angeles, which adapts the old activity of giving testimony to new verbal forms -- whether by song, speech, and poetry. One of the main ways in which they do this is through their Lyricists' Lounge, which is essentially what we usually think of as coffeehouse-style poetry. But it's generally less pretentious than coffeehouse poetry, and more passionate; and the testimonial character of it brings out the didacticism that is often found in muted form in coffeehouse poetry. It is performed didactic testimonial poetry: it sets out not just to play with words (although it does that) nor to set out images (although it does that) but to teach, and, what is more, to teach Christ through personal testimonies that are performed. But as performances they are almost more conversations with the audience than mere performances. But, really, all these descriptions are very loose analogies for what P4CM does.

I'm not a huge fan of coffeehouse-style performed poetry, by any means, and but I do like decent didactic poetry, and the young people collected together as Official Poets of P4CM have a lot of talent. It's an acquired taste, but there is much to be said for it. Here is a piece by Janette...ikz (pronounced 'genetics'), one of the stronger talents in the talented bunch, about the difference between Deception and Mystery (some intense things, be forewarned):

Her most popular piece so far, though, is I Will Wait for You, about the trials and tribulations of a woman not settling for the sort of man who "sorta kinda right, sorta kinda wrong, his first name Luke, his last name Warm".

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