Add new comment

In this interview, “Words that Shimmer” Elizabeth Alexander’s description of her own personal life and her connection of it through poetry denotes a connection almost mystical between the two. When Krista Tippet asked alexander where did she begin to realize where poetry came from, it drew me back to my time in my spring poetry class my first year of college. My teacher Dr. Maupin asked me what type of poetry I liked, and how I viewed this powerful art form. My reply was a little unconventional I might add, I told her that I grew up watching spoken word and viewing the world that I saw in a similar fashion because as Alexander said “we crave truth telling, we crave truth”, and when I saw these men/women speak I was fascinated not so much with their words but more so with the truth in their words. I was amazed by their large vocabularies and the “shimmering words that came from their mouths. Alexander speaks on the importance of the truth in poetry that makes it so free and liberating to listen to. As she recites one of her poems she says that “Poetry is God in the details,” she says that” poetry is the human voice”. Ist as if she’s saying that poetry is another form of communication that seems to connect people, and in my own life poetry isn’t very practical, but when the people around me would hear it they all know that what they’re hearing is beautiful and true. And being constantly enveloped in a world that lies and manipulates you it’s nice and refreshing to hear something beautiful and innocent come from the human soul. It reminds me of a quote I would hear growing up “ what comes from the heart goes to the heart” . Now in the literal sense this is referring to blood but, in the metaphorical sense of the word the saying refers to something true and innocent leaving the human body and entering and resonating in the body of another. I believe that this is the concept that Alexander is trying to depict for us here, or at least this is what I personally draw from the interview. She also goes on to elaborate on how valuable the quiet was to her, and how much she valued those moments when she had it. This brought me back to a time in my class when my teacher had us read Seamus Heanys’s “Poem” aloud and immediately after we read the poem she instructed us to sit in absolute quiet for about five minutes. And even though we had read the poem countless times before, but there was something about hearing this poem and then being exposed to such a beautiful silence. I was given the ability and mental focus to fully expound on the meaning of the poem we were reading in such a way I never thought possible before, this quiet space was almost like breathing for the first time, it was breath-taking and exhilarating. And even more interesting is that I find it hard to receive this kind of connection with anything other than poetry, it’s as if the poetry gives the silence its own language: those shimmering words echo throughout the silence making them even stronger until they find solace in the craving cavity of the listeners mind