"I have been taught accommodation."
October 18, 2013 3:20 AM   Subscribe

College student Lily Myers performs her poem, Shrinking Women, at a poetry slam.
posted by colfax (38 comments total) 70 users marked this as a favorite

 
I think this is fabulous. I want to stand up and cheer. She tells truths, as poets are supposed to do.
posted by Anitanola at 4:23 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was not prepared for that.
posted by odinsdream at 5:12 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thank you for posting this.
posted by severiina at 5:52 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wow. Yeah. Would love to have been in the audience.
posted by rtha at 6:11 AM on October 18, 2013


Excellent. As an aging male, I am working diligently to take up less space. What she says rings so true for so many.
posted by beelzbubba at 6:17 AM on October 18, 2013


Transcript?
posted by notyou at 6:27 AM on October 18, 2013


Wow. Thanks for sharing this.
posted by Mchelly at 6:40 AM on October 18, 2013


There's a transcript of the poem under the YouTube video.
posted by colfax at 6:50 AM on October 18, 2013


that was great, thanks for posting.
posted by aka burlap at 6:58 AM on October 18, 2013


I sometimes wonder if poetry, if words can change lives.

As a the son of a shrinking mother, the younger brother of a sometimes silenced sister, this just changed my life.
posted by elmer benson at 7:11 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I haven't been to a poetry slam in a long time. All that appreciative (I hope appreciative) moaning and umm'ing during the performance -- that's typical? Sounds like zombies. And zombies can stay the hell off my lawn.

There's a transcript of the poem under the YouTube video.

I looked for this and couldn't find it. (I suspect it's buried way down in the 1000+ comments thread and you can only open like 10 at a time with the Show More button.)
posted by aught at 7:22 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I looked for this and couldn't find it.

Directly under the video, below the publication data, is a button that says "Show More."

This was beautiful and thought-provoking. As the dad of a 1-year-old girl I've been thinking a lot recently about how to help her avoid or overcome the million types of awful we heap on women in our culture, and this poem made for a very vivid and affecting data point.
posted by saladin at 7:34 AM on October 18, 2013


Great work there. Not loving the "slam" format though... It reminds me of peoples need to clap after each musician solos during a jazz performance. Can't we quietly wait till the end, listening, until we show our appreciation? Still, great poetry.
posted by Mr.Me at 7:36 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can't we quietly wait till the end, listening, until we show our appreciation?

I see your point, but man, there's something amazing about that gut-punch reaction she gets when she notes how all her questions in class begin with "Sorry...". Amazingly powerful.
posted by odinsdream at 8:02 AM on October 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


My issue with it is how the crowd reacts so quickly to things. I need time and space to absorb what she's saying. Her words accumulate and grow with power. It just got me confused that the crowd was freaking out from the beginning while I was trying to understand and place each new line within the whole. Her performance was understated and quietly powerful, which made the crowd reaction that much more jarring.
posted by naju at 8:15 AM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Transcript-seekers, button poetry's videos have word-for-word captions. Click on the "CC" button on the bottom right, and you will see the speaker's words spelled out below.
posted by Jesse the K at 8:31 AM on October 18, 2013


Transcipt at this site.
posted by mefireader at 8:41 AM on October 18, 2013


This is the first time I've seen slam poetry in action. It seems to be an entirely different medium than traditional poetry, with performance and audience feedback being a big part of it.
I like it, but then again I like the applause after every solo aspect of jazz performances.

My local group's monthly slam is tomorrow night. I think I'll finally check it out in person.
posted by rocket88 at 8:42 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, that made my throat tight, and I thought of my mother, whose nickname is "little ma". Thanks for posting.
posted by greenish at 8:46 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Thanks for posting this. It's amazing.
posted by Salamander at 8:47 AM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This may be a stupid question, but are the audience vocalizations in response to the woman in the video? They often seemed kind of out of sync and incongruous, as if there was something else going on in the room.
posted by BurntHombre at 9:25 AM on October 18, 2013


I don't know the requirements for the sociology major because I spent the entire meeting deciding whether or not I could have another piece of pizza

Welp. That made me sob a little. Most of what I remember from college is a series of elaborate food-related internal negotiations. I still remember my rules for how many trail mix meals I had to eat before I could go out with friends on the weekend. (Replace breakfast with trail mix for 4 days; lunch for 2. Black coffee only. Toast for dinner if I could bear it.)

Worse, I still remember the guilty relief I felt when I got horribly ill and lost 20 lbs over a month (prompting my mother to ask if I had AIDS).

I'd really like to remember the names of my professors instead. A party or two. An enlightening lecture (come on! I know they happened! But they've vanished...). But no. I just remember wanting to shrink, with every fiber of my being.
posted by like_a_friend at 9:43 AM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't comment here much but as 46 year old father of two daughters this really, really moved me. I want growing, thriving daughters not shrinking women and this has prompted some pretty deep introspection as to my role in ensuring that. For that, much thanks.
posted by SoFlo1 at 10:03 AM on October 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Her performance was understated and quietly powerful, which made the crowd reaction that much more jarring.

And the loud male voices were certainly ironic.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:13 AM on October 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think a lot of what we were hearing was snapping (instead of applause) which is delightfully Beatnik. It seems to be the kind of atmosphere they are used to, and mostly appreciative. I found it didn't bother me on second listen, any more than "Amen!" in a church would.
posted by emjaybee at 10:19 AM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


the poem was good but I found the audience feedback/snapping too distracting/annoying
posted by Bwithh at 10:29 AM on October 18, 2013


Her performance was understated and quietly powerful, which made the crowd reaction that much more jarring.

And the loud male voices were certainly ironic.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:13 PM on October 18


When she gets to the bit about all of her questions starting with "Sorry," there's one guy who definitely sounds like he's just seen a monster dunk or something. I guess on the one hand, I'm glad he appreciates her work and that bit was really good, but it seemed really weird to me.

I also felt a bit like it threw her off and interrupted her rhythm, but I'm not well versed enough in the world of poetry slams to know for sure. I'm 100% not a poetry slam kind of person, but I really enjoyed that. I'm not likely to go to a poetry slam in the future, but I'm glad I clicked the link.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:37 AM on October 18, 2013


Another (solemn) "thank you for posting this."
posted by eric1halfb at 10:55 AM on October 18, 2013


As not-a-slam-poetry person, I was surprised at the things that the audience reacted really strongly to, or perhaps surprised at the visceral strength of their reaction. But whatev.

The piece really stands out for its terrific subject matter.
posted by entropone at 11:05 AM on October 18, 2013


Huge hard lump in my throat from this. Poetry slams are so much not my thing that they'd almost be a punchline if I didn't have manners and the knowledge that my lack of attention does not equate to their lack of worth. But I really like the feedback culture of the event, it reminds me of the call-and-response in the sort of churches that have really good choirs (and that we are sorely deprived of in rural New England). And if this woman's testimony fills the congregation with the spirit, I can understand it, and so can she because she chose her venue and apparently thought it an appropriate one.

I hope she can reverse the trend and grow in all the best ways, not so much oysters but wisdom and laughter and empathy and influence to others to not diminish as well. She certainly seems to be on the right path for that.
posted by Lou Stuells at 12:00 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not all slam venues are the same... some they do wait until the end to go nuts with appreciation, others every time you clear your throat you get a cheer or floor-stomp to let you know you got love.

If you or the poem or both are really good, or if it seems like you're struggling with your performance for some reason, you are more likely to get encouragement and positive audience feedback mid-poem.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:14 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think that one guy's voice sounds overwhelming because he happened to be sitting next to the recorder/camera; it didn't seem or sound like they had specialized recording setup.

And to repeat: This is amazing; thanks for linking to it.
posted by seyirci at 1:22 PM on October 18, 2013


Thank you for posting this.
posted by susiswimmer at 2:37 PM on October 18, 2013


This may be a stupid question, but are the audience vocalizations in response to the woman in the video? They often seemed kind of out of sync and incongruous, as if there was something else going on in the room.

Yeah, I thought exactly the same thing. Those vocalizations are in response to something else. I found them rather disturbing, actually.
posted by dobbs at 3:29 PM on October 18, 2013


Great slam, great audience, really great interaction.
(It doesn't compare to when the audience politely claps after each jazz solo. It compares to when an audience of musicians whistles & whoops /during/ the solos because they know where the musician is going and who's he quoting.)
posted by ruelle at 4:00 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This didn't do a lot for me, though I'm glad that other people seem to be getting more out of it. To be honest it seemed kinda tame compared to the stuff that I'm used to seeing performed -- perhaps New Orleans is just blessed with an exceptional community of badass firespitting feminist women poets. This was good, but to me it seemed a little heavy-handed, didn't develop very much, and the delivery lacked the fire that I like in a good poetry reading. Just my opinion of course; like any art, one person's reaction (or lack thereof) doesn't invalidate anyone else's.

Here's a standing offer: if anybody here who likes this kind of thing is ever in New Orleans, MeMail me. I'd be glad to bring you to a poetry reading anytime; there's one going on almost every day of the week and you're sure to see at least one poet who'll transfix you in your seat and give your third eye a good windexing.
posted by Scientist at 7:48 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scientist, I had pretty much the same reaction as you did when I saw the video.

I'm grateful, however, for the comments above which express genuine connection and enlightenment (kenning) as a result of watching the performance.

Poetry should always be so moving for at least some people.
posted by mistersquid at 7:57 PM on October 18, 2013


I've been thinking about this since I first saw this video a few weeks ago. There's some interesting research about body language and that link goes to Amy Cuddy's Ted Talk about how to "fake it," how to hold our bodies in shapes that make us look and feel more powerful, and how that changed outcomes in MBA classes where gender grade gaps were (are!) a noticeable problem.

So much truth. I went back and forth about posting Lily's poem here, but since my first and only post to the blue is a slam poet, I didn't want to pigeon hole myself. So so glad to see it pop up here.
posted by bilabial at 8:10 AM on October 20, 2013


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