National Poetry Month / poetry / Poetry Pairings

Poetry Pairing: Technology and Conversation

Captured conversation in a coffee house in San Francisco
Image via Randy Pertiet – Flickr

I’m fascinated by this article from The New York Times: “The Flight from Conversation” by Sherry Turkle about how technology has affected the ways we communicate with each other and what it means for the future of our relationships. Turkle concludes with, “So I say, look up, look at one another, and let’s start the conversation.” I’ve been fortunate to have a few of these face-to-face conversations this week and the power of the spoken word versus text amazes me. I have a greater appreciation for those who are willing to forgo a text conversation for an actual phone call lately too.

A few days after reading this article, I happened upon Anna Moschovakis’ poem “ninth: a conversation between Annabot and the Human Machine on the subject of overpowering emotion.”

From the poem:

ANNABOT: I cannot feel your hand.

HUMAN MACHINE: I cannot feel your heart.

I am going to work on doing more of the above going forward.

Anything else you can think to pair with these?

AND don’t forget today’s Poem in Your Pocket Day! I’ve got “Advice from La Llorona” by Deborah A. Miranda in mine. What’s in yours?

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15 thoughts on “Poetry Pairing: Technology and Conversation

  1. This interests me deeply as the parent of a teenager who would often prefer to text over a voice call. We've talked about what's missing – the intonation, the nuance – in a text. She's also not one to talk on the phone for long periods of time, although she has a boyfriend who loves to talk and that's been an interesting development. I'm hoping her generation will learn to balance in-person/virtual communication so that the art of conversation doesn't become a rare gift.

  2. I cannot agree with you more, Kathleen. My sister has just entered her teen years and I can relate entirely. Their generation's dependence upon technology as the main mode of communication really worries me. I'm interested to hear how her relationship with her boyfriend develops as well!

  3. I was on the phone with Apple –with no one–for ages, pushing buttons and speaking to a computer–and all of a sudden I said–I HAVE TO TALK TO A HUMAN! And one got on the line. It was such a relief. To think there was really an ear on the other end. But she directed me back to a series of button pushes and . . . Humans are a thing of the past. Machines are taking over.

  4. Here's another wrinkle: I'll be teaching next year in a 1-to-1 iPad program. Each student in our school will have their own device, equipped with writing programs, apps, you name it. I am no luddite: there are so many benefits that come with technology for all. But still. This article has me thinking about what ELSE I'll need to teach them next year, namely how to put those fancy shiny things away for a while, too.

  5. Andee, I LOVE making connections like this. It's like a game I play. There is a great excerpt on Brain Pickings that says : "We create the new not generally through some mad moment of inspiration but by putting things together that do not normally go together; from taking disciplines (or curriculum areas) and seeing what happens when they are forced into unanticipated collision."

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