Random strangers reading poems on camera

Check out How Pedestrian, the latest addition to the Moving Poems linkroll. As described in a recent article in the Toronto National Post, the site’s curator and videographer, Toronto poet Katherine Leyton, stops people at random and asks them to recite a poem on camera. Most of the time, they agree.

“Poetry has such a bad rap,” Leyton says. “People will tell me about how they had to analyze Robert Frost poems in high school, and how boring it was, but poetry doesn’t have to be like that.” She’s hoping her blog will change the public’s perceptions about poetry and make it more accessible to those who might otherwise shy away from it.

Most of the participants read the poem Leyton provides only moments before they recite it, and while in some videos this is obvious, in others, the readers recite with such feeling and conviction that it’s hard not to think it’s rehearsed. “Good poetry should always work first on a gut level — it should communicate with you intuitively,” Leyton explains. “I think that for most poets, that’s the aim.”

As a proof-of-concept, the site is brilliant, and with Leyton’s short but substantive blurbs about each featured poet, I should think How Pedestrian could really come in handy in the classroom.

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