Law and Conversation

May 23, 2011

Watch This: Lynda Barry on Poetry

Filed under: Books and writing,lawyers,poetry,storytelling — Helen Gunnarsson @ 5:37 pm
Tags: , , ,

Via Rachelle Cruz I found this inspiring video from the amazing and brilliant artist Lynda J. Barry on poetry.  In “The View From Here,” Barry sings Emily Dickinson to both Gershwin and Jobim, explains that haiku isn’t an exercise in 5-7-5 syllables, but a picture, and opines that poetry, like other arts, is alive and not only useful but essential.

I love Barry’s message. Today I had a great conversation with another lawyer who told me about how much music adds to his life. He’s one of a number of busy and successful lawyers I know who find time to play an instrument, paint a picture, or tell a story in poetry or prose and have a richer professional and personal life as a result. All of those creative pursuits are part of what makes us human.

Barry also says we can best understand poetry not by reading it, but by memorizing it, and that music can help. Her video from The Poetry Foundation is well worth eight minutes of your time.

I urged everyone a while ago to read some poetry every day. What are you reading, or playing, or writing that’s not for work today?


  1. Hi Helen,

    I get a new e-mail update of your posts almost everyday from you that is always remarkably intelligent, informed and well crafted. How DO you do it? You don’t have to tell me your secrets, I just look forward to reading more.

    I completely agree with you about this wonderful video at the poetry foundation. I actually found out about it awhile ago by checking the blog section of — while I was surfing the poetry foundation I found the poem Migrations by Dorian Merina, with animation by Alyssa Sherwood. I wanted to share it with you and hear what you had to say but they seem to have removed the animation. There’s an excerpt on Alyssa Sherwood’s website:

    Thanks for all your good writing!

    Comment by Kerry Dennehy — May 23, 2011 @ 8:21 pm | Reply

    • Hi Kerry, I am always glad to see a comment from you! Thanks so much for the very kind words about my posts. My goal is to post at least 2x and sometimes 3x/week, which I’ve been meeting recently but I can’t always make it. (I hope I haven’t lost any readers by taking a month off in January and more time in March/April!) I get a million ideas for posts, and I really enjoy this writing because it helps me keep track of what I’m reading and thinking about. Plus I’ve met some interesting people, like you, through comments and tweets! I think that posting often also helps me become a better all-around writer, which I’m always working on. I guess the other part of the answer is that I try to be fairly consistent in setting aside a little bit of time, usually early in the morning, to write posts. I’m so glad you’re reading and like what I write!

      Comment by Helen Gunnarsson — May 24, 2011 @ 7:38 am | Reply

  2. […] with a neat website of his own who shares my appreciation of the work of artist Lynda J. Barry, commented on a post of mine and provided a link to still another cool website that belongs to artist Alyssa Sherwood. Among […]

    Pingback by Cool animated art! « Law and Conversation — May 25, 2011 @ 12:13 am | Reply

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