Lyric Essentials (at Sundress)

David Ishaya Osu reads excerpts from Walt Whitman

“How contradictory that the more we run away from hell, the more of heaven we do not get. This sophistry has compounded our despair. And this, to me, is what Walt Whitman is painting; hence the need for “the poet of the woman the same as the man.” We live in a dire reality where our cases are prejudged by our gender and class; less interest is paid to understanding the urgency and the cruciality of the situation at hand.”

Pui Ying Wong reads “Everything is Plundered” by Anna Akhmatova

“When Akhmatova wrote this poem she had already lived through WWI and the Russian Revolution. She saw many friends leave Russia for Europe or America, her former husband was executed. In times of oppression and great distress, despair, fear and cynicism are all part of the understood human responses. In this poem, through describing the concurrence of the inner/outer events, the self’s emotion waited until the last stanza. It is mystical and true. If the goal of oppression is to crush the human spirit, the poem is like a searchlight in darkness.”

Sade Andria Zabala reads a poem by Annabelle Nyst

“When I chanced on the poem the first time, I was awestruck. Kind of when you read shocking news or something – like literal physical reaction of drawing back from the laptop. When you read it for the first time, it seems something purely aesthetical which happens to be good writing. I saved it for future reference in case I wanted to reread. A year or so later, I changed, lived, grew up some more. Reread it by chance and was like, ‘Yup, wow, that’s still me. That’s really me in a poem now, shit.'”

Tim Suermondt reads “This World” by Czeslaw Milosz

“And though not stated as such, the poem implies that the good we experience might be given back to us a thousand fold. Of course, it’s probably not the case but who really knows? I’m more than happy to give Milosz the benefit of the doubt and let poetry do the impossible.”

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