Originally broadcast at 10:45 a.m. EDT Friday, July 26, 2019.
Joshua Bennett offers thoughts on — and demonstrates — the power of the spoken word, detailing his journey as a poet and as an educator, and explaining the role of poetry in his life and in the world.
Bennett is the Mellon Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. His first work of narrative nonfiction, Spoken Word: A Cultural History, is forthcoming from Knopf. Bennett is also the author of The Sobbing School — a National Poetry Series selection and a finalist for an NAACP Image Award in Poetry — as well as the forthcoming Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man, and Owed, his second collection of poetry.
“This is ancient; what we’re doing here. This is the oldest tradition in the Western world, this oral poetry,” Bennett says. “The ancient Greek poems taught in school; they began as performances. I don’t think we’ve ever lost that, but I think we need to recover that memory.”
About Chautauqua Institution: Chautauqua Institution is a community on the shores of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York state that comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. As a community, we celebrate, encourage and study the arts and treat them as integral to all of learning, and we convene the critical conversations of the day to advance understanding through civil dialogue. CHQ Assembly is the online expression of Chautauqua Institution's mission.