Poets Online Talking About Coffee: Rion Scott

Would you rather drive a really fast car or drink a really strong coffee?

I’d rather stick a needle in my eye than drink a really strong coffee. Coffee is made when the devil passes water. Tea, however, is the true blood of the living God.

What’s the deal with police terror in the US at the moment? You’d never see anything like that in the UK (yeah, right).

I don’t think it’s changed much in the last several decades. The only difference is that black people walk around with high powered video cameras in their pockets these days. The police terror we’re seeing nearly every day is the same police terror KRS-1 rapped about on “Sound of Da Police” and “Black Cop” in the 1990s, the same police terror NWA rapped about on “Fuck the Police” in the ’80s, the same police terror Richard Pryor talked about in his act in the 70s and the same police terror James Baldwin wrote about in the 1960s. The situation is ongoing and has its roots in anti-blackness, which is worldwide so it pops up in various forms all over the world. According to The Independent, about 3,000 UK police officers are under investigation for assaults, mostly on blacks and Asians.

The attitudes that lead to racialized police brutality in the U.S. is absolutely connected to the attitudes that’s leaving Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless in the Dominican Republic and it’s absolutely connected to the struggles of Black Israelis, who have also been loudly protesting police violence in recent months. For the satire series I’m curating for this magazine I’d love to see writers from outside the U.S. delivering their takes on police terror. We have three slots left.

What’s the sweet spot for satire? As in, the best balance between humour and seriousness?

I’m not sure how to answer that. I think it depends on the effect each individual satirist is trying to achieve with a particular piece. Pryor’s routine “Bicentennial Nigger” is not filled with a whole a whole of laughs, but it’s incredibly profound. The best thing he ever did, in my opinion, is his bit in “Live From the Sunset Strip” where he’s discussing setting himself on fire while freebasing cocaine. There are actually a lot of laughs in that one, but when you think about it, he’s discussing a horrible personal calamity for which I imagine it must be hard to find laughter inside of. The material decides it’s approach. The pieces we have on tap for The Blue Blues series range from the hilarious to the quietly profound.

What can we expect from Wolf Tickets?


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