I read this NYT article on Mr. Marvin Wexler, a lawyer who reads poetry to the elderly on a voluntary basis. I marveled at how persistent Mr. Wexler man is, as well as how receptive (some of) his audience is. I’m not sure how John Berryman and Langston Hughes would go down in Singapore old folks’ home, but I appreciate the point made in the article about how the listening of poetry is therapeutic, and how words have the power to transport you to another place. The promise of escape that literature brings has spurred many a reader as well as a writer.
Poetry readings, like classical music and interpretative dance, are sometimes hard to sit through.You tell myself that in order to maintain a somewhat intellectual front, you need to keep quiet and put on a thoughtful expression as you frantically try to make as much meaning as you can about the work. And when the latter is not possible, and cognitive links simply cannot be made, you just try to maintain the silence and the expression without falling asleep.
Some days, I imagine my future in an old folks’ home and wonder how my days will be like. A friend remarked the other day that the current pop songs will be the oldies of tomorrow, and that the children in thirty years time will be singing ‘It’s all about the bass’ and Taylor Swift during their community involvement visits. I wonder if I can make a request for poetry then.