I have never been able to write poetry, but I have always enjoyed reading the works of those gifted in the art (namely, those who do not tag their work with #spilledink or break regular sentences into five different lines just to make it look like poetry). I’ll admit though, that outside of the works of Rabindranath Tagore translated into English from his native Bengali, I have never actually picked up a poetry book.
So when Poets.org announced that they were going to do a poetry reading, my interest wasn’t piqued until they said who was going to be reading said poetry. Some names I didn’t recognize along with Amanda Palmer, Madhur Jaffrey. Meg Ryan, Anne Hathaway, Meryl Streep(!!!). Sign. Me. Up. Who doesn’t want to listen to Meryl Streep recite poetry?! As expected, the event was sold out within days and I was lucky enough to find myself a ticket (the proceeds of which go to The Academy of American Poets education programs, which assist K-12 teachers and educators in their efforts to bring poetry into the classroom). The event happened yesterday at the Alice Tully Hall.
I have said enough and more about my time at this fabulous event on my Instagram, and while I do not have many pictures or videos to share of the show, I do have the poems that were read. A lot of these poems draw parallels to the current political climate in USA, which was spoken about all throughout the show in subtle and some not-so-subtle ways (Amanda Palmer jokingly referred to getting in trouble after the election when she declared that ” the election of Don*ld Tr*mp will bring back punk rock!”; Cécile McLorin Salvant, a brilliant new performer I discovered at the show sang a chilling and moving song about lynching; Meryl Streep asked Amanda Palmer to run for 2020 haha!).
Here are my favorites from the show, in no particular order.
Humanity I Love You, by E. E. Cummings (recited by Amanda Palmer)
Ain’t That Bad?, by Maya Angelou (recited by Maurice Hines)
Ukelele Anthem by Amanda Palmer (recited by herself, please please please listen to this song!)
Frederick Douglass, by Robert Haydon (recited by Uzo Aduba)
I, Too by Langston Hughes (recited by Cécile McLorin Salvant)
Mother Earth: Her Whales by Gary Snyder (recited by Meryl Streep)
excerpt from The Uses of the Body by Deborah Landau (recited by Madhur Jaffrey)
If you are at all into poetry, then you must give these a lookup! 🙂
P.S.: I keep saying “..now I can die in peace” about things that happen to me in New York City, and the city just keeps on throwing awesome things and incredible experiences my way. Is there a limit to how much I can love this city, my home away from home? (probably not.)