“What Will Your Verse Be?”

I can’t stop watching this commercial, which I first saw during the Golden Globes.  What a soul-lifting, heart-building, mind-blowing visual from Apple.  Absolutely beautiful and I hope people take the message to hear.

We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering — these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love — these are what we stay alive for.

To quote from Whitman,

“O me, O life of the questions of these recurring.
Of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, O me, O life?
Answer: that you are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

“That the powerful play goes on, and you may contribute a verse.”

What will your verse be?


6 Responses

  1. I agree. This commercial was fantastic. I plan to show it this quarter when I introduce poetry. Can’t wait,

  2. I also saw this and bookmarked it for our poetry unit.

    Apple is doing some neat things on their site: http://www.apple.com/your-verse/

  3. Also a well performed scene in Dead Poets Society:)

  4. OK after listening to it, I realize that is was taken from the movie…I guess I should watch before speaking.

  5. Reblogged this on Ex Libris and commented:
    One of my favorite selections from Whitman…Oh, the power of poetry!!!

  6. Yes . . . at one point, I felt too tired to keep watching the awards presentation but decided to stay put just to see that wonderful commercial again. I did occur to me, though, that this might also be a GREAT thing to show and then to discuss with teens, because in real time/ real life (as opposed to the very short, intensely engineered ad), we know from our own experience and from countess scientific studies, that easy access to virtual imagery has somewhat displaced our desire to interact with the much more messy and unpredictable, physical world. (The speeches of Matthew McConaughey , who thanked his mom for making him get up from watching TV and get outside, and the fascination with the movie “Her” in which Joachim Phoenix develops an intense relationship with his operating system, would seem to bear testament to this. ) In the commercial, the segment with the praying mantis crawling over the screen –uh, I don’t think so. I’d bet that far, far fewer kids will ever have that real/ physical sensation because they can “have” it on their screens without having to get up, walk into the woods, and find one themselves. On the other hand, more kids may know (intellectually) what a praying mantis IS because they can “access” one on their screen. Every technological advance has its physical and emotional trade-offs. Having been a child in the pre-internet age, I say: give me the dirt, the woods, the walk (or whatever the equivalent experience would be where you live-urban, rural, suburban), and the unique and humbling sensation of that amazing creature stumbling across my bare knuckles. You can tell me “what it is”—but I can tell you how it feels. For me, this is the necessary work of writing—and of living itself. (And thank you, Sarah, for this post–I didn’t know I had so much to say about this topic until you put it out there!)

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