Review of “B” by Sarah Kay


If I should have a daughter, instead of Mom, she’s going to call me Point B.


Hearing a poem recited and reading a poem are two totally different experiences, so I didn’t quite know what to expect when I saw a print copy of Sarah Kay’s poem B. I was not disappointed with my read.


I loved hearing Sarah Kay perform “B” in a TED talk, which I have included above, but was fearful that her voice would carry into my reading of her poem. It didn’t. With the spoken word poem, Kay’s tone and emotion takes the forefront, but in translating the spoken to the visual, readers add their own imagination into the poem.  B transforms into a more personal experience. The reader sets the pace. If you want to, you can linger over words and let your mind wander. Listening to someone speak requires a certain amount of attention.


At less than 50 pages, B is a quick read (or listen) that encapsulates a mother’s conversation to a future daughter. Sarah Kay does a great job reciting the poem, but in keeping her one step removed from her words and her audience, take on a power and emotion of its own.


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