Saul Williams on how to 'give your life' while you're alive
Poet and performer Saul Williams swings through studio q to discuss his razorsharp poetry album MartyrLoserKing — a title that makes him break into uproarious laughter.
In an energetic and wide-ranging conversation, Williams explains how poets are like hackers, why losers are the real winners, and how to hand your life over to service.
"You don't have to be dead to be a martyr," he says. "You can give your life while you're alive ... in fact I would say that is a more honourable way of doing it. Trying to do it through life rather than provoking death."
He also delivers a rousing performance of his poem, Look How They Treat Us.
WEB EXTRA | Did Williams give you whiplash with all his rapid-fire cultural references? As promised on air, here's a quick list of the people, issues and texts he mentioned.
- The 27 club.
- "Disrupt the norm. That's what Rimbaud was trying to do."
- Coltan as Cotton (poem that references The rebellious gene and the capitalist doctrine in relation to free labour, etc.)
- Americans in Paris: James Baldwin. Richard Wright. Miles Davis. "It's impossible to not feel that connection."
- French luminaries Boris Vian. Marguerite Duras.
- Canadians with a fresh angle on the U.S.: Drake. Bieber. Feist.
- Things he applauds about Canada: Justin Trudeau's new cabinet. The dialogue between the government and First Nations. Turtle Island.
- People he meets in other countries get excited about Michael Jordan and Michael Jackson.
- Australian indigenous peoples who call themselves black.
- Don't just "check off" goals — aim for Anton Chekhov.
- Artists that realize there's something more powerful than executive meetings at their label: Bob Marley. Neil Young. Nina Simone. Bob Dylan. Jimi Hendrix.
Plus, watch Williams perform his latest genre-defying track, Horn of the Clock-Bike.