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00908--SPOKENWORD POETRY: A TED TALK BY SARAH KAY




Sarah Kay
SPOKENWORD POETRY: A TED TALK BY SARAH KAY

I write poems to figure things out.
Sometimes the only way I know how to work through something is by writing a poem.
[Sarah Kay]

Event: TED TALKS
Speaker:  SARAH KAY
Topic:SPOKENWORD POETRY
March 2011, LONGBEACH, CALIFORNIA.

There is this piece of wall in Hiroshima
That is completely burnt black by the radiation
But on the front step
A person who was sitting there
Blocked the rays from hitting the stone.
The only thing left now
Is a permanent shadow of positive light.
After the A Bomb specialists said it would take
Seventy five years
For the radiation damaged soil of Hiroshima city
To ever grow anything again.
But that spring
There were new buds popping up from the earth.

Sarah Kay









Sarah Kay begins her talk with a poem.

 A Spokenword Poem rather.

It reminds me of A Prayer for My Daughter by W.B. Yeats. 
Standing Ovation
Sarah Kay may be the only speaker on Ted Talk who got two standing ovations for a speech.  For me this talk along with some others has therapeutic effect.  Watch this talk and you will feel better.  And you will feel like Tennyson’s Ulysses who wanted to convert his whole life into an adventure.  An adventure that ends only when he dies.

Sarah’s Ted Talk is equal to a hundred Hollywood movies.  It has all human expressions in it.  Oratory, music and acting are manifested here.  It’s a pleasure to see Sara Kay in action.  As soon as she finishes reading her first poem she gets a standing ovation. Then again in the end.  Ted audience usually won’t give a standing ovation to the speaker unless the talk really touches their heart. 

Creativity and Imagination

The passion with which Sarah Kay performs her poem is remarkable and is an example of how effective a communicator can be even without the aid of music and visuals. 

That job is left to the imagination of the listener.  It is very important because nowadays nothing is left to our imagination. Everything is shown to us along with the background music.  Kids today need not visualise anything on their own, instead everything is prepared and served for them. 
What kids do is borrowing someone else’s imagination.  Reading Robinson Crusoe is different from watching the movie version of it.  I think Spokenword Poetry brings back the grace of reading.

Definition

Sarah says, “Spokenword poetry is the art of performance poetry.  I tell people it involves creating poetry that doesn’t just want to sit on paper.  There is something about it that demands it to be heard aloud or witnessed in person.”

The function of Spokenword poetry is to entertain, educate and inspire.  She teaches Spokenword poetry and also travels around the world doing the same.  Sarah was member of a poetry club where grown-ups read aloud poems.  This club played a major role in the formation of Sarah as a Spokenword poet.  According to her unlike other art forms Spokenword poetry is accessible [affordable] to everyone. 

Three Steps
She says, “I can divide my spokenword journey into three steps.  Step one was the moment I said,‘I can.  I can do this’. And that was thanks to the girl in a hoodie.  Step two was the moment I said, ‘I will.  I will continue.’  I love Spokenword.  I will keep coming back week after week.  Step three began when I realised that I didn’t have to write poems that were indignant if that’s not I was.  There were things that were specific to me.  And the more I focused on those things the weirder my poetry got…but the more that it felt like mine.”

Hiroshima
Sarah Kay concludes her talk with a poem having Hiroshima as the central theme.
What I could hear all through her talk was her optimism and trust in human will.
Her faith in humanity.
She performs the poem:

“When they bombed Hiroshima,
The explosion,
From a supernova,
So every living animal, human or plant,
That received direct contact with the rays,
From that sun,
Was instantly turned to ash.
And what was left of the city soon followed.”
…………………………..
“But in Hiroshima some people were wiped clean away
Leaving only a wrist watch or a diary page
So no matter that I have inhibitions to fill all my pockets
I keep trying
Hoping that one day I will write a poem
I can be proud, to let sit in a museum exhibit
As the only proof I existed.
………………………
There is this piece of wall in Hiroshima
That is completely burnt black by the radiation
But on the front step
A person who was sitting there
Blocked the rays from hitting the stone.
The only thing left now
Is a permanent shadow of positive light.
After the A Bomb specialists said it would take
Seventy five years
For the radiation damaged soil of Hiroshima city
To ever grow anything again.
But that spring
There were new buds popping up from the earth.



This Ted Talk is a mesmerising one.  Watch this performance closely and you will experience the transcending power of true art and a true artist.  Charlie Chaplin, Ann Frank, Beetles…they all helped the world in their own way.  Here is Sarah Kay helping the world by performing Spokenword Poetry.
                                                               

                                                                            END






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