Appreciating poetry is often about patience: sitting with a poem, meditating on it, and re-reading it multiple times. With spoken word, we don’t always get a chance to do that. This series is about taking that chance, and diving a little deeper into some of the new poems going up on Button.
“I say my anger is my greatest joy, and I become a heaven on fire.”
One of poetry’s most important functions is to communicate ideas in ways that honor their complexity. Speeches, academic papers, or thinkpieces don’t generally capture what this poem captures in terms of the relationships between hope and fear, resistance and rage, empathy (in a critical sense) and spite. These juxtapositions play out not just in the poem’s substance, but in Harris’ delivery as well– it’s subtle, but note how the poem “moves.” From the first line to the last line, while the overall volume/tone doesn’t shift much, the emotional charge builds and builds, finally setting up the devastating repetition of “I hope” lines that close the piece.