With your head buried in a book, it’s easy to forget the difference a voice makes in how we understand what we read. Anyone who has listened to a great audio book recently can hold testimony to the fact. When you loose a voice you loose more than intonation and tone, you lose an unfolding rhythm with all it’s natural pauses and nuances. Moving from prose to poetry, spoken word is even more valuable. It can turn even the most absurd Artificial Intelligence poems into a heart-provoking soliloquy and, who knows, maybe steal a single poetic tear from your cheek? You tell us.
In the meantime enjoy these five poetry reads from the annals of YouTube.
Harry Baker, “59”
A love story between 59 and 61, prime numbers, and “Prime Time Loving”, this TEDx poetry slam is puntastic and awesome and guaranteed to make you miss you high school physics teacher’s dirty chemistry jokes. Academia meets poetry, there’s nothing quite like it
Blythe Baird, “Pocket-Sized Feminism”
This video went viral on a Harry-Patty-Cursed-Child-Reveal level earlier this year, and it still gives me a little shudder. Baird’s voice is so striking and honest in its wavering between vulnerability and guilt, assertiveness and critique. Watch it. Enjoy it. Let the feminist inside you barrel out.
Sara Kay, “The Type”
Follow Baird up with Kay, an American poet and co-founder of V.O.I.C.E., an initiative to use spoken word as an educational and inspirational tool. “The Type” capitalizes on what Baird puts forth in the prior video – the vast complexity of being a woman – and creates totems of ‘typed’ women, all empowered in their own way. She relates each type – those that will be seen, touched, held – to the external world, taking a feminist conversation from the strictly solipsistic talk from ‘what does it mean to be a woman?’ to ‘what does it mean to relate to others as a woman?’ She speaks of what other’s will seek from these types, and the takeaway these relationships offer for women defining themselves in their own voice.
Jenny Hollowell, “A History of Everything Including You”
Somwhere between a poem and a short story, Hollowell’s piece is still one of my favorites. Originally aired in the podcast RadioLab, she speaks simultaneously to the weight of each life and its inconsequential matter in the scope of the vast unending universe. Ignore the cheesy visuals, or opt for the interpretive dance version instead.
The Simpsons, “The Raven”
What better way to enjoy Edgar Allan Po’s eerie poem than with the Simpsons? Subdue all on coming ooga-booga’s and heebie jeebeis that “The Raven” typically give you, and enjoy this comical take instead.
Featrued image courtesy of Columbia Spectator.