The Poetry of Ordinary Speech


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Today I ate Twilight: Los Angeles. Anna Deavere Smith likes to talk about the poetry of ordinary speech, of everyday people. And in her quest to understand the Race Riots of 1992 in LA, she found all the poetry she could possibly want.

For the last few years, Anna Deavere Smith has wandered around the country conducting interviews, which she then transforms into performance. This book was a compilation of her interviews about the Race Riots. She spoke to police commissioners  jurors, and a multitude of bystanders. She found strange interactions of race and culture. And she found incredible beauty in the words of normal people. She was given prose, and she transformed it into poetry.

This is the kind of book that gets under your skin. The voices haven’t left me, even though I’ve closed the book.  Everyone lives the same day, but we all see it in such a different light, we all bring our own poetry to the ordinary and the extraordinary events of our lives. Twilight: Los Angeles reminds the reader of that fact. It reminds everyone that our experiences form a tapestry of life and beauty, even in the darkest of times.

Four Anna Deavere Smith Performances–one of the most captivating videos you will ever see.


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