Raising Our Voices

By Danny Booth
NEWS Reporter


ARTS by reddit.com

My dreams shattered in the vast emptiness that is time. Beautiful, right? But what the hell does it mean?
The lines above are from one of the many works of poetry performed by Phil Kaye at Mercersburg Academy, January 20, 2017. He began his reading with a light hearted poem about his childhood, then switched to an excellent impersonation of the Geico Gecko, then to my favorite: “Repetition.” His poetry enthralled the audience, evoking genuine laughs and complete silence while he drew breath.

I never liked poetry, but I liked Phil Kaye. So I went to his workshop. I don’t know what I expected, but at the end I was impressed. I came away understanding his three important tips on writing poems.

1: It doesn’t have to be deep. Many people never write poetry because they think it has to be about the meaning of life or detailing the nature of time. Phil Kaye wrote about falling out of a tree.

2: Include sensory details.  “My dreams shattered in the vast emptiness that is time. Beautiful, right? But what the hell does it mean?” Our task was to write what regret feels like. Phil advised not to write in the abstract, but instead use the five senses. What does regret taste like? How does it sound? “Regret is the sound of your telephone hanging up, right before I could say, ‘I love you.'”

3: Be confident when performing. Don’t fidget. Don’t apologize. Look the audience between their eyes. Whatever you express is what the audience feels. Don’t make them feel awkward.

Phil’s workshop lasted two hours, but it felt like 100. He hits you deep with imagery and ends once there is no reason to say anything else. I’m learning to follow suit.

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