Dudley Randall 1914-2000
The recent deaths of a few high-profile celebrities are not to go unnoticed or unnoted. However, as the television and radio airwaves are flooded with tribute songs, poems and various artistic compilations, the words of the ancestor poet, Dudley Randall seem more pertinent than ever.
In his legendary poem, A Poet is Not A Jukebox, Randall defends his artistic integrity and freedom by boldly proclaiming, “A poet is not a jukebox, so don’t tell me what to write”. This single line serves as an artistic statement to artists of all genres that refuse to have their creative output dictated by the media or any other source. Before you sharpen your pencil to write your very own tribute poem, do a self evaluation of your craft and the motives behind the creation of your art.
Well meaning friends and family may request a memorial piece dedicated to their favorite celebrity. Do not be afraid to politely remind them that you are neither a jukebox nor a lyrical puppet that tap dances choreographed metaphors at the pull of string.
Write only those words that you are compelled to write. Set free only the art that becomes caught inside your spirit. Stay true to your pen and your words will forever remain unrestricted.