While I find it annoying that there are so many Sarahs running around in the world, I find it amusing that there is another Sarah Kay in the USA. (hey, it rhymes!)
People like to call me Sarah K to distinguish me from all the other Sarahs they know. Somehow this has evolved to my friends writing my name as Sarah Kay which is more fashionable than just the “K”.
So when Megan Mc sent this TED Talk to me, I was prepared for awesomeness since the speaker is named Sarah Kay after all.
I was blown away. I think Sarah Kay is a great poet (the speaker, not me; I am terrible at writing poetry) and I love how she makes every word count. She has a powerful and compelling voice, and I only hope that one day I could be 1/10 as engaging as her when I give presentations and talk to people.
I love the idea of having a poet “perform” the poem in order to convey the deeper meaning than a reader could get just by simply reading the words of a poem.
Watching this TED Talk reminded of something my playwriting teacher at UMW, Mark Scharf, told me in class once: “There’s nothing like seeing a performance live with the actors right in front of you.”**
This is exactly how I feel about spoken poetry because with the rate of how fast or slow the performer talks, the intonation they use, not to mention the hand gestures they make, affects how the audience reacts to a word, a line, or even the whole poem in itself.
Sarah Kay mentioned that one of her activities she often asks her students to do is to list 10 things that they know to be true. They aren’t supposed to think too hard about it. They should just write the first things that pop in their head.
Here is what I ended up with:
1) I am American.
2) I am a girl.
3) I like photography and singing.
4) I like being a foreigner in Korea sometimes. Makes me feel special, like a unicorn.
5) I hate being a foreigner in Korea sometimes. I don’t like the attention.
6) I want to be a writer, but I don’t know if I am trying hard enough.
7) The beach makes me so happy I could cry.
8 ) People who like winter are crazy!!
9) My tongue trips and stumbles over words much like my feet over anything on the ground.
10) I think hugs are the best thing in the world.
I find it interesting that all of what I wrote started with “I” or at least had to deal with me, myself and I. I suppose that I find it a lot easier to find truth in what I believe about myself, than is for me to make statements about other people or the world.
I have asked 10 people now (and counting) to tell me 3 statements they believe to be true because not only is it a great conversation starter, but I am generally curious what other people would list.
The most recent person I asked was my friend Gigi. Her list of 3 things she knows is true:
1) The sky is blue.
2) The road is hard
3) The store has a glass window.
Her statements had nothing to do with herself, but rather the external world around her. As for the other people I have talked with, their statements tend to range from all about themselves [the narcissistic lot, haha] to the people who only talk about environmental things.
All in all, spoken poetry is a topic I want to explore more as a listener and maybe a poet myself. I am happy my re-introduction to this kind of performance art came from such a talented person as Sarah Kay.
**I am paraphrasing Scharf’s words since he told my class this in 2008 so my memory of his exact words is a little on the fuzzy side.