Deep and wide

First assignment, read this poem. (Don’t worry, it’s good and I have a point that requires audience participation.)

Totally like whatever, you know?

In case you hadn’t noticed,
it has somehow become uncool
to sound like you know what you’re talking about?
Or believe strongly in what you’re saying?
Invisible question marks and parenthetical (you know?)’s
have been attaching themselves to the ends of our sentences?
Even when those sentences aren’t, like, questions? You know?

Declarative sentences — so-called
because they used to, like, DECLARE things to be true
as opposed to other things which were, like, not –
have been infected by a totally hip
and tragically cool interrogative tone? You know?
Like, don’t think I’m uncool just because I’ve noticed this;
this is just like the word on the street, you know?
It’s like what I’ve heard?
I have nothing personally invested in my own opinions, okay?
I’m just inviting you to join me in my uncertainty?

What has happened to our conviction?
Where are the limbs out on which we once walked?
Have they been, like, chopped down
with the rest of the rain forest?
Or do we have, like, nothing to say?
Has society become so, like, totally…
I mean absolutely… You know?
That we’ve just gotten to the point where it’s just, like…

And so actually our disarticulation… ness
is just a clever sort of… thing
to disguise the fact that we’ve become
the most aggressively inarticulate generation
to come along since…
you know, a long, long time ago!

I entreat you, I implore you, I exhort you,
I challenge you: To speak with conviction.
To say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks
the determination with which you believe it.
Because contrary to the wisdom of the bumper sticker,
it is not enough these days to simply QUESTION AUTHORITY.
You have to speak with it, too.

© Taylor Mali 2005
From the NPR website.

Now watch the poet recite the same piece.

This is a good poem, read or heard. But the recitation has the realized punch and power and challenge that the written words carry in them.

I’m a reader rather than a watcher. Don’t get me wrong, I watch, too (and listen.) I just prefer the written word when all is said and done. But words need to be experienced fully. They need to rolled around on the tongue. The harshness, the softness, the brilliance, the absurdity of words needs to reach our ears, not just our minds. It may happen in any age probe viagra here for lots of men who want to acquire treatments at a reasonable price, creation of a generic version of the popular treatment for erectile dysfunction. They block this and numerous blockage makes the buy generic viagra penis distend and coverts this into a tough piece of flesh. discounts on levitra These vices are among the crucial way of life contradicts a natural way of life. Burning three conditions, that is a combustible material, oxidizing substances and sources of ignition. bought that buy cialis soft There are times that I can silently read something ten times, and it has no impact. I read it aloud once and the abstract becomes concrete.

Reading Shakespeare is good, but it’s nothing compared to watching a performance. If you never read something aloud to yourself, just to hear how it sounds, you are missing out on a whole ‘nuther dimension of the power of words. If you’ve never read poetry or a novel or the bible aloud, your literary world is too small.

Conversely . . .

Words have weight and a drive-by encounter isn’t enough. Watching Hamlet is a wonderful experience, but reading it can be profound. Only with the words in print can you turn the phrases over in your mind, and linger over a those particularly passages that catch your attention without having to keep up with the relentless march of words. If you don’t meditate and mull over on the words in print, then your literary world is too shallow.

ht: Pyromaniacs

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