Alex Webb guides us through Getting Stitches, the first published collection from super talented San Diego-born slam poet/spoken word artist, Rudy Francisco…
In a world where physical books are becoming less and less popular we have turned towards technology to read and explore the limits of our language. Poetry is no different in this sense with the rise in popularity of the spoken word. Rudy Francisco is someone that can bring the art of poetry slam into the public eye and gain the recognition it deserves through sites like Youtube. Having spent over a year mesmerised by this poet’s command of the English language I decided to try and find out if he had any published works.
I was surprised that he only has one, Getting Stitches, published in January of last year. Featuring sixteen poems, some of which I’d heard read aloud, I was excited to get into this very short but intriguing collection. One of the first entries, ‘A Few Things I Believe’, was an interesting insight into Francisco’s mind. Through this piece you are introduced to a commentary on “macho” men: ‘I believe masculinity is a wet fish that most men are just/trying to hold onto’. The fourth poem, ‘The Body’, sees Francisco write individual, personalised letters to different parts of himself. Each of these is either an apology or a warning written to make himself a better man. This is best done when he tells his brain: ‘You’re such a good listener/but you give terrible relationship advice’ – a concept I’m sure many readers can relate to.
Something that let down the publication as a whole was the lack of professionalism. There were numerous spelling mistakes in the pieces that took away from the magic Francisco weaves and, in some cases, entire words were missing. Whilst the latter may have been a use of “artistic license”, it was done to no benefit. However, looking past these, this collection is a solid entry into the world of poetry. One of the strongest poems in the book was ‘How to Look Like a Stalker’, which presents a parody of how one might go about stalking someone. Controversial in nature but overall harmless. ‘Monster’ is one of the most emotionally engaging pieces which sees Francisco confront rapists and their mindsets. ‘I carved galaxies in the back of my throat/just to make your world easier for me to swallow/but I can’t stand the taste of your behaviour’ shows desperate efforts to sympathise with an unwanted, horrific for part of our society. It is in this poem that Francisco’s ability really shines through. Making powerful statements meld with his beautiful verse is something Francisco does better than most. In realising this I found what I was looking for in this collection. Beauty and power in literature is something rare and Getting Stitches brings this to the table.
Overall, Francisco presents a brilliant collection that I think anyone could engage with. If you are interested in sampling Rudy Francisco’s talent for yourself you can find his poetry slams on his YouTube channel. One word of warning: once you’ve entered the world of spoken word, you might find yourself stuck there for hours.
Reference: Francisco, Rudy; Getting Stitches; (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013).