Many poems sound a lot better when they are read aloud. Yulin Kuang’s video series ‘I didn’t write this’ combines a beautiful reading of some poetry or prose with themed clips. A couple walking though a forest or having fun on a beach make the poems more fun to listen to and more accessible. This is just the thing to watch when your high school teachers made you wonder what the real point to poetry is.
My favourite episode is The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, which is, as you might have guessed from my review of it (read it here), one of my favourite poems. Sean Persaud recites the poem in a rich and eloquent voice
(in other words: cute and British) that conveys the rhythm of the poem beautifully. Some of the stanzas are cut (no cat metaphors :( ) but considering the length of the video this was a wise decision. It is long enough to provide you with an impression of the poem, but short enough to hold your interest. Other poems include works by W.H. Auden and Neil Gaiman.
If you are more interested in prose, you might enjoy a rendering of John Green’s Looking for Alaska (read my review here) or Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. These scenes are acted out rather than narrated, which makes for a nice change within the series.
I, for one, really enjoyed Kuang’s fresh take on these somewhat older poems and their mix with modern poetry and prose. Instead of putting Eliot and Auden on a pedestal/ in a dusty corner as ‘distinguised writers of the past’ she levels them with Green and Rowell, showing that ultimately, they wrote for the same purpose: to be read (or heard) and enjoyed.
Watch the whole series here.