When Man Becomes Water

After the two poets, Clint Smith and Pages Matam, launch into their powerful poem, ‘Flash’, reciting the opening line together, “Sometimes I stalk myself on Facebook,” followed by a short stanza, such that each poet recites only a single line, the poem begins. The function of the opening stanzas have the feeling of only existing to interrupt the permanence of silence, the moment a room falls silent in anticipation of the performance and so the sentences work as a way to ensure that the entire audience takes a breath at the same time, that nobody is left behind. It is when Smith begins the next stanza that things get interesting. Smith says, “Then I come across images from the year I spent living in South Africa, a place where I fell in love with photography but struggled with the fine line between capturing my own experience and exploiting someone else’s suffering.”

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